So I feel that the scene is about set, and that I can nearly launch into some of the substance, the content I have in mind to get the ball rolling here. But first with this post let me scene set just a little more.
In March last year, a little over a year ago, I found myself at an Australasian Permaculture Convergence in Penguin, North-Eastern Tasmania.
Several significant things happened over the several days of the event that were formative in the sense of helping set in motion a sequence, one outcome of which has been this project.
The first thing was during Bob Brown’s opening speech. Great speech, by the way. Great speech from a great man. In effect a rousing urge to environmental activism. One comment was that “the stupid are cocksure, whereas the intelligent are self-doubting.” Anyways, toward the end he said something like “if you lot were running the country, we’d be fine. But unfortunately, you’re not.”
Now of course he was being nice, flattering the crowd, giving permaculture the thumbs up, and all that. But the thought that hit me at this statement was along the lines of “my god, let’s be honest here, if this lot were running the country, we’d be [let’s just keep it clean and say not so fine]” So that was one thing. I’ll get into why I had this thought in due course.
The second thing that happened was that I led a session called “critical self-reflection in permaculture.” Maybe 30 people came along including several elders of Australian permaculture, which I was delighted with. I played the thing by ear and introduced the concept of a weak link analysis, introduced a few of my pet weak links in permaculture, calibrated against the group, and then invited others to submit theirs. I won’t get into the details now, though, but what the heck, I will share this list that came out of the session (we will come back to a lot of these items in more detail in future posts):
- Neglect of design process
- Lack of post-PDC pathways
- Dearth of evidence
- Lack of stress/focus on implementation and management
- Permaculture design course evaluation & evolution
- Conscious decision making/leadership/management skills
- Doing everything ourselves
- False confidence
- Closed shop vibes
- Permaculture of the inner landscape (this from Professor Stuart Hill)
Details aside the main point is that my feeling from the vibe of the session along with feedback afterwards was that the approach I was suggested resonated with the group. Which was encouraging. I remember actually joking about starting a website like this, not expecting myself to actually do so over a year later.
The final thing that happened was not only an aspect of the convergence but of the two-day advanced permaculture design course I led directly afterwards. With two able assistants and 19 lovely participants, we had a special few days. But where I’m getting to was that I was deeply struck by the number of folk, often younger, sometimes not, that had permaculture design certificates and were earnest, and intelligent, and wanting to take it further, often with a component of professional design work.
These three things (becoming aware of my own perception that the permaculture movement generally doesn’t have its shit together in a lot of basic ways, a positive reception to the topic of critical self-reflection in permaculture, and tuning into a huge wave of interest in taking permaculture design work to a higher level) affected me quite deeply, and are part of how I came to be the me that is having a go at setting this whole thing up.
So, yes, just wanted to acknowledge the contribution of that convergence toward getting this whole thing, whatever it is, exactly, off the ground. Thanks, convergence!
Over and out.