5 Comments

  1. Hi Dan
    Didn’t see your reply till now.
    As is my schtick, I started that comment above motivated by concern for animals in permaculture. I always feel they draw a short straw in any consideration of ethics. We’re very comfortable with the notion of care of people, and of course we are all about rescuing the planet, but with animals we tend to see utility, not wonderment and empathy. So yep, dear Rowe gets a superwoman vote from me for her comments on this.
    Now, her cape 😉 I’ll commission our students to knit it from the handspun alpaca and sheep fleece harvested from our permie urban farm at Templestowe College. I’m thinking a lot, Dan about the iterative design process we guide, as each semester new and continuing elements (students) interconnect through interests and skills, to generate new projects, all in the advancement of an overall student community sustainability enterprise, manifested in physical space. What Drew and I love most is not so much teaching applied permaculture, but that through permaculture students can realize themselves in new and unexpected ways. Permaculture opportunities are the real teacher. This is fantastic for the fledgling eco-warriers of course, but we have come to believe, such programs should be available generically if schools are to prevent disaffected youth falling through the gaps. Permaculture with its eco-construction, resourceful problem-solving, old and new technologies, fundamentals of multiple branches of science (especially interpersonal psychology!), alternative and responsible small economic ventures, food, animals, art, ethics, and also physical work… permaculture with all of this has become at TC a welcome home for boys, girls, and as it happens some gender-fluid youngsters, who are drifting and hurting.
    It’s pretty damned powerful! So go you good things with its strengthening (and don’t forget the non-human animals 🙂

  2. I am listening to this sometime after it was recorded and many years since I studied with Rowe back in ’91. I have since taught and designed both in Oz and Aotearoa NZ and I am hearing much of what she taught to us which is very heartening! There have been so many developments of the permaculture approach and I have often wondered if I am too ‘old school’ but the foundations are strong and Rowe has always been clear on them.
    It was interesting when she talked about teaching micro climates as it brought back the very simple walk she took us on over the road from the Blackheath Neighbourhood Centre in the Blue Mountains where we found an avocado growing against a brick wall with a tarred road alongside and with bamboo growing on either side. One example after all these years and it’s as if I saw it yesterday! I am eternally grateful for her teachings.

  3. Dan,
    Rowe has the wisdom and compassion of a sage. Bless her.
    I hope she publishes again.
    Bill seemed to arrive at a similar place. He speaks of the importance of protecting the profound beauty of life in his Intro to PC text. He even exhorts us to refrain from taking animals’ lives unless absolutely necessary.
    As we can hear with Rowe at the end of your podcast, holding this position publicly is problematic and actually takes more courage than even Rowe, and certainly the rest of we mere mortals in permie-world dare admit.
    My own feeling is that if we raise young people to care for the plight of the ant in our path (when possible), let alone the forest and her communities, we raise a generation that could turn this clusterfuck around. Empathy, not rationality, is the human experience that could elevate us to a place of true stewardship.
    Really enjoying your podcasts while I knit my stepdaughter a jumper :), You’ve got me thinking about the “design” of our community of elements (teen students) in Drew and my Sustainability project at Templestowe College. Hope to touch base with you about it. It’s pretty amazing for lost young guys with some grouse sustainable building, plumbing, forging, duckaponics, micro-enterprises etc as well as very bad language when they think you’re out of earshot!! They’re fantastic! As are the girls of course
    Angie

    1. Hey again Angie and I look forward to connecting with you. Any jumper with Rowe vibes in it is going to be a great jumper. I had the pleasure of catching up with her over a meal last week at the permaculture convergence in Canberra. She is in great form. She still can’t say no to overseas jobs. Although she’d disagree she’s sort of like an authentic modern day superhero or something. Maybe you ought to knit her a cape next time :-).

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