Thursday, November 10, 2016

Social Permaculture: Designing Change for a Better Life and a Better World

When people first visit an established Permaculture garden/system, it can be striking. Here is a style of food garden that's beautiful, life-enriching, highly productive, and low-maintenance - and it just works. 

Look deeper: this is not just a pretty place, it is transformational. It is a revolution on the personal level, a tangible way to build the kind of life you want to live and the kind of place you want to live in. And it is a revolution on the global scale, as well, that transforms our relationship with the earth and its ecosystems and the invisible structures that perpetuate social oppression. With our American food system being the number 1 use of fossil fuels, the #1 driver of climate change, the #1 cause of deforestation and soil loss, the #1 reason for the confiscation of tribal lands and displacement of tribal communities in the global south, the #1 cause of exposure to dangerous chemicals and toxins for marginalized communities... taking responsibility for your OWN food is powerful transformational action. 

It works because we rely on the help and energy of NATURAL SYSTEMS to maintain our gardens and produce our food, instead of exploiting people, oppression, fossil fuels, animal cruelty, poisons and non-renewable resources. And like natural ecosystems that naturally grow healthier and more fertile over time, these systems aren't just "sustainable," they're "regenerative," actively making the world a better place to be. 

And go further: the systems we use to meet our needs drive virtually ALL the injustice and environmental degradation we see in the world today. But we can work together, now, today - without waiting for other people or politics - to start building new, just, sustainable ways to meet our needs, and we can start changing all those problems - at home, in our own communities. 

Beyond the garden, Permaculture shows us patterns we can use to invest in regenerative systems for energy, housing, heating, food, water, transportation.... And like the gardens, because they emulate and work with nature, they just work.

And it helps us design communities for ourselves that support us in our lives and in building the kind of world we want to see. The reason ecosystems grow stronger over time, which scientists call natural succession and "negentropy," is that they catch and store energy into the various living beings and communities in the ecosystem. Like a natural energy bank. 

Like nature, we can actually think of investing our time and energy into our own productive assets, communities and ecosystems, so that we have resources to draw on when we advocate for change.

We call that "Social Permaculture." And just as we can start building our own gardens today, and taking responsible for our food, we can start creating our own Social Permaculture communities and networks. 

To get some ideas and inspiration here are some articles on Social Permaculture and community design that we've published here at Lillie House. If you have questions or want to learn more, please comment!

The basics from a perspective of social and ecological transformation. 

Can we learn to lead "wealthy" lives that aren't destructive or exploitive? That actually help us create a more just, sustainable world? 

Understanding and Addressing the Ecological Causes of our Problems: 

Healing Ourselves, Healing the World: More on how Permaculture can help us build better lives for ourselves while simultaneously being socially transformational. 

Social Permaculture: Designing the Relational Landscape. This three-part series applies the patterns of nature and folk communities to our modern communities, to help us think about our own relationships. 

Catching and Storing Energy for Financial and Social Permaculture: Two articles with thoughts on how to invest time, money and energy into assets that will build a stronger community. 

Articles on the Intersection of Social Permaculture and Forest Gardening:
2. Our Community Supported Forest Gardening Class, as a model for Community Design:
3. Social Patterns in a Food Forest:

Intersectionality and Permaculture: How do we create new, better systems for meeting our needs without recreating the same destructive patterns of oppression? 

Why our Best efforts fail. Avoid some common traps associated with organizing. This two-part series deals with common problems in social organizing:


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