Art, Permaculture & Metamorphosis in the Sustainability Age

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”Over the last 30 years, permaculture has grown to become a global grassroots movement of healing and re-connection with the Earth penetrating many different fields, continents, and cultures. Though often thought of as just a set of gardening techniques, permaculture is in fact a whole systems design philosophy. As a methodology for whole systems thinking, Permaculture is being applied towards business, economics, government, group process, and more. It is in this spirit of permaculture as a holistic design philosophy encompassing many fields that we are truly excited to gather in one place such a diverse spectrum of teachers and facilitators and offer this course to the public.”

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The organic world is forever going through a dynamic state of metamorphosis. If we attempt to hold nature in check we inevitably run directly into the maelstrom of constant change. Within an ever changing landscape we know, as Permaculture practitioners, that all we can do is design and implement balanced infrastructure in order that the dynamic processes of the natural world can take place in harmonious fashion, where all the dots connect, and the functions of landscape, the built environment, energy and the waste stream, interrelate and exchange materials and energy with the goal of zero waste in mind and action. The world that we design as a practitioner is a cyclical world, a circular world. At any and every point there is no disconnect. In a linear system we move from source sink.

Result: an accumulation of materials pointing toward pollution. And from the other side a complete demolishing of the resource base. As a society schooled in the scientific, on-looker consciousness way of life we have learned how to divide and conquer exceptionally well to the extreme. Where might we find the fluidity in all this? When we say reduce, reuse, recycle we most often skip the first two steps and attempt to recover what we can from the back end. But this is highly problematical simply because we continue to consume at alarming rates. REDUCE! Imagine the effect this might have. If the Permaculture practitioner goes by the dictum, “the least change for the greatest affect”, then we must take to heart the word “least” as the key idea. Simple, least, reduce.

It is a one-sided world view that consumes and fails to give back. In the long run there are basic ethical decisions that need to be made in order to “do the right thing”. Care of earth, care of people, fair share are the triumvirate of goals stated right at the get go in the Permaculture universe. This is, in essence, a calling. But it needs be a calling into actual practice, a dedicated practice that infuses the whole being of the human being: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. We cannot separate any of these “pieces” of the human being out of the whole and expect them to operate within the context of the whole.

We as a species have failed over the last century to merge the polarities of space and time, to allow nature’s script to play in us, inform us, and teach us how to live as part and parcel of this everlasting metamorphosis of organic life.

If this world were a machine, as so many have been led to believe, we could easily send in the repairman to fix it, could we not? But the repairman at this juncture in the game is overwhelmed. So what it comes down to is that we all become repairers, “fix-it-ers”, but we do it not by forcing our wills on it, or by pounding endlessly with a reverberating hammer and reciprocating saw. We explore it, go deep inside it, observe it, open to it. By it I mean what surrounds and interpenetrates us and gives us life, existence.

There is no separation.

These are not fixed ideas that I am referring to. We become as fluid as natural succession and the metamorphosing architecture of the natural world. We are in step with it. And if we are in step with it nature will tell us what is needed, how to proceed, how to plant a food forest for the ages, or dig a swale that actually means something to the landscape. To read deeply the language of landscape, the book, so to speak. To see the letters not as separate entities but as parts of a vast book made up of leafy sentences that flower into paragraphs that develop into fruitful inspiration and finally, plant a seed in us, a seed that is an infinite point of possibility that lights our way.

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