Permaculture as Education

Kia Ora from Melbourne.

I am sitting in a hostel drinking instant coffee (yuck) and quickly posting before I am off for 4 days at:
This symposium brings EE researchers from around the world to think and talk about the future of research in the field. While I am pleased to have been invited, I will miss my other project, my ducks and my wife. (Also wish I could have finished putting in the wood-burning stove before I left. Stay warm, honey.)
What is exciting about being in the heart of international EE research are my constant attempts to consider it through a lens of permaculture. I am more than halfway through my dissertation and I am pleased at the way I have applied permaculture principles and ideas to every chapter. (That will be a big blog post one day in the future.) But this week – surrounded by academics – I will be curious about how the permaculture ethics apply to the field: Care for the Earth; Care for people; Share the surplus. Additionally, Australia just passed a “progressive” carbon tax, and so I’ll be keen to hear how “progressive” it actually is from the Aussies.
I apologize for not writing about gardens, insulation or weather stripping this week. And I apologize for recycling another piece of writing (see below), but I received a bit of positive feedback on it through the Permaculture in New Zealand summer newsletter.
I promise I’ll be back next week with more practical posts.
Educating Everyone

After living in New Zealand for two and a half years I finally
listened to Talkback Live. The good news is that it was not Michael
Laws. The other good news is that David Suzuki was the guest. The bad
news is that he does not mince his words regarding the fate of the
planet. The interviewer accused him of being an ‘alarmist’ to which
Suzuki replied, “Of course I’m an alarmist! I am trying to sound the
alarm so people will hear it!”

The Suzuki interview came just days after Dani and I went to a local
(bike-able) screening of the film ‘Home’ which was equally sobering.
At the end of the film, the sponsor stood up and commented on its
powerful message and urged us to “do something.” While I agree with
the encouragement to act, I take issue with its vagueness.

As educators, we need to provide the opportunities and resources for
learners of any age to take specific sustainable actions. I submit
that to be a permaculturist is to be an educator. A permaculture
practicioner who is unwilling to educate others is not a
permaculturist at all, but a survivalist. More than likely they own a
gun and 100 cases of canned beans.

After listening to Suzuki and watching the film, there would appear to
be ample reason to jump in the ute with Smith, Wesson and Watties, and
head for the hills. But as permaculturists, we recognize our survival
is only assured by the survival of those around us, and that education
is the key. Dani and I are, indeed, ‘doing something’ regarding
sustainability and education in a little corner of a little street in
a little city in a little country. But it is making a big difference
in our lives and the lives of those around us. We are permaculturists.
What else would we do?

Peace, Estwing

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