Permaculture for the People!

The Earth and her people are in crisis. Devastating wars continue to tear apart cities, neighbourhoods, and families; a worldwide and vicious policy of neo-liberalism destroys pensions, fair wages, public institutions, and social programs; and systems of oppression including racism, sexism, and colonialism operate in deep and insidious ways. People are suffering. The Earth is suffering as well: the oceans grow more acidic and plastic-filled each day; a predicted 30% of species will disappear by 2050; and climate change is not only here but is happening faster than predicted.

I believe that permaculture – commonly defined as a system of ecological design that seeks to mimic natural ecosystems in human spaces – is a movement that can help to build a better world for all. Permaculture has radical potential but in order to meet that potential permies have to support other radical movements for change. I want to focus on building a permaculture movement that is based on acting collectively to change the world instead of creating a personal oasis or a small business – a permaculture movement that is based more on restoring the commons than on land-ownership.

This blog as been started with a few important assumptions:

  1. Permaculture provides powerful tools for the radical transformation of society but only if we begin to see ourselves as a movement not simply a philosophy or a set of practices.
  2. Social movements are the cause of fundamental change in society: not elections and not individual actions. We can’t vote or shop or garden our way out of the present or future crises.
  3. People of colour are leading the way for radical change with movements against racism and colonialism. Permies need to act in radical solidarity with these movements.
  4. The permaculture movement should be anti-capitalist in nature – the continued growth of capital is, very simply, at complete odds with what is best for the Earth and her inhabitants – including the vast majority of people.
  5. People are the answer not the problem. The devastation of the world is not caused by too many people or by “human nature”. It is caused by a system based on private profit that benefits only a few.

I will be writing regular posts on this blog about the intersection of permaculture, activism, and theory. Some posts will focus on practical advice for bringing permaculture into all aspects of your life, some posts will be ideas for movement building – especially around the powerful act of solidarity, and some posts will take a more analytical approach to deconstructing systems of oppression and exploitation (I am, after all, a PhD student!). And sometimes I will just need to rant – I apologize in advance. The aim of this blog is simple: to contribute to the building of a permaculture movement for the people (and bees!).

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