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Re: [ecopath] Pc Design Manual - Overview (fwd)
At 11:41 PM 5/26/99 -0400, Larry London wrote:
>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 07:57:02 -0700
>From: Jeff Owens <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Pc Design Manual - Overview
>This may be the first post of a journey through the
>Permaculture Design manual. If interest isn't indicated
>i'll drop it and move on to other things. I don't want the
>role of teacher, so this is a discussion not a course. If
>someone wants to assume the teacher role that is OK with
>me, but they will need to be a graduate of a Pc design
>The Pc manual is divided into fourteen chapters as follows:
> 1. Introduction
> 2. Concepts and Themes in Design
> 3. methods of Design
> 4. Pattern Understanding
> 5. Climatic Factors
> 6. Trees and their Energy Transactions
> 7. Water
> 8. Soils
> 9. Earthworking and Earth Resources
> 10. The Humid Tropics
> 11. Dryland strategies
> 12. Humid cool to cold climates
> 13. Aquaculture
> 14. Strategies of an Alternate global Nation
>My feeling is that some areas are abbreviated and need expansion.
>These areas include: Cultural tools, Urban techniques,
>Transitional tools for difficult situations, and ideas about
>Pc education that fit sustainability. Also the Pc definition and
>handling of ethics could be made less confusing. The idea of
>expanding Pc is consistent with its loose definition (and philosophy?)
>so i view the Design Manual as a starting point. Others may view
>it as a bible.
I can't disagree with any of the above - most of the items listed are very
well defined by Bill Mollison in his courses and that has been handed on by
his students for the most part. The problem is that we are now several
generations of teachers from the original teaching so some things are lost
and need to be made explicite in writing.
I don't view the Design Manual as a bible but it is the best curriculum
currently available. Hopefully some enterprising souls will expand and
update the information in the Manual to fill in some gaps.
>The Preface to the Manual says: The word "permaculture" can be used
>by anybody adhering to the ethics and principles expressed herein.
>The only restriction on the use is that of teaching; only
>graduates of a Permaculture Institute can teach "permaculture", and they
>adhere to agreed-on curriculae developed by the college of Graduates
>of the institutes of Permaculture.
In the "Foundation Year-Book of The Permaculture Academy", Bill Mollison,
1993 edition it states "Ownership of the copyright is equally invested (by
B.C. Mollison) in the Permaculture Institutes and their graduates from a
Certified Permaculture Course. It cannot be given away except to
graduates." "No person who is not a course graduate can use this name for
profit; all normal uses for purposes of reviews, discussion, news items and
so on is permitted, and graduates (but only graduates) of courses can
register for-profit enterprises or corporations using this name."
>What i find interesting about the Preface is that it defines Pc
>in terms of natural ecosystems and ignores the role of culture.
>The word "permaculture" is called a contraction of Permanent and
>Agriculture. Since the date on my book is 1988 i assume the data
>is now a little out of date. Another book which goes into design
>is the "Earth User's Guide to Permaculture" and it says:
> Today, there are many definitions of permaculture. The
> early definitions dealt with permanence; later
> definitions concentrate on sustainable human settlements.
>I'm not sure exactly what this quote is saying, but soon after
>the word "community" was used and this leads me to believe they
>are acknowledging the role of culture/community in sustainability.
>My bias is that culture should be about half of a Pc Design manual
>and its absence is a huge hole.
>The preface also acknowledges the role of David Holmgren in helping
>develop the initial ideas behind Pc. This is interesting because
>Holmgren sometimes gives a different viewpoint and the
>Design Manual seems to be all Mollisons creation.
In "Permaculture Two" Bill states that without permanent agriculture we can
have no permanence in culture. In every course I have taken or taught with
Bill he has always stated that the early limited definition of permaculture
as a contraction of permanent and agriculture was always meant through
implication to be permanence in culture. Once again culture was always very
much in the foreground of Bill's teaching, the reason it is not so explicite
( thought very implicite) in the Designer's Manual, I believe, is that
trying to design for culture is a very messy affair. It is much easier to
deal with other material - earth, water, trees, etc. where so much is not
open for interpretation; once the human element is introduced one is
confronted with religion, politics, cultural taboos, and all the other
unique baggage that makes it very difficult to talk rationally about design,
and sustainability in a cultural context.
This is in some ways a cop out on dealing with real important issues but
getting bogged down in that conversation means that the obvious and
immediate work of stopping destructive behaviour toward the environment
would take the back seat - or that is my fear.
What I mean is that when I talk in class about the incredible damage that
missionaries have done to indigenous cultures and subsequently their
environment, I am immediately challenged by the religious in the class and
spend too much time defending my argument that western religion has done
more to destroy the developing world than almost any other institution. If
I leave out the cultural imperialism then I can talk about that destruction
in a more objective way.
ONe could argue that the cultural imperialism conversation is the most
important conversation and that all destructive behaviour originates there -
that is what I tend to believe. But if our immediate priority is to put the
earth back together in some order that sustains life and culture then I
think the philosophy has to ride in the back seat for now. I also think
that within the teaching of permaculture that these philosophical
underpinnings are implicite and that at the conclusion of a two week course
they are understood within the context of the course and the culture.
>Comments on the contents? Other areas which are ignored by the
>Design Manual? Thoughts about the difference between a course
>and a discussion?
The difference between a course and a discussion to me is that a course is
for those who have a minimal grasp of the materials, a discussion is for
those who have a good grasp of the materials but want to compare conclusions
and expand their knowledge.
Permaculture Institute, USA
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