[Friday Five] Let’s not lose the forest for the trees (literally and metaphorically…)

Hi, this is Geoff.

After what seems to have been constant travelling for almost 2 months, we’re finally back at home. One of the first things we did was taking a swim in the Pacific’s beautiful turquoise blue and warm waters…and emerging feeling salty, fresh, and alive 🙂

Last week’s Friday Five was long, so let’s keep this one a bit shorter. Here goes…

Election: There are millions of words being written about what happened in the US earlier this week, so I’m not going to comment or post any of the analysis that came after the results came in. Instead, I’d like to share three interesting perspectives written before the election that I think are thought-provoking for their sweeping, “50,000 foot” view. This one by archaeologist Tobias Stone written in July, 2016, looks at Trump, Brexit, and other sea changes in the context of 50-100 year historical perspectives. The second is a piece by Andrew Sullivan from the May, 2016 issue of New York magazine that uses Plato as our guide to understanding the large, tectonic forces that seem to be shifting under our feet. The final piece really steps back from the partisan politics by excoriating illiberal democracy and undemocratic liberalism. To wrap your head around this, read the Salon piece in full. You can agree or disagree with their analysis, but at least considering the framework they put forward — written before this week’s emotional events — might be a way to help process and understand some of the forces at play without, as the expression goes, “losing the forest for the trees.”

Did someone say forests? I’m reminded of something that Bill said: “People must see these forests and wilderness as the greatest educational system that we have on the planet. If we could lose all the universities then we would lose nothing, but if we lose the forests we lose everything.” And if you have just 5 minutes to spare, this film about forests — viewed in light of Bill’s statement and the uncertain events swirling and accelerating around us — is absolutely worth watching.

Changing of the guard: Meanwhile, anyone paying attention to this? Or this? Despite whatever you’re seeing or hearing, don’t get the “news blues” – things are moving forward.

Practical periodicals: I remember being told if you understand the periodic table and Ohm’s law then you understand the universe. Well, this interactive periodic table by Keith Enevoldsen helps get us halfway there by putting into context everything we learned (and forgot) in high school. Ever wonder where rhodium shows up in the world? Hint: Look at your wrist (if you’re older than 50 🙂 )

Favorite Facebook post this week: Bill Mollison was given the totem of the honey badger by the Kalahari Bushman. After seeing this video or this one or this one (and knowing something about Bill), you’ll know why. We miss your fighting spirit, Bill.

Feel free to forward to a friend. Anyone can sign up for the next batch.

Cheers, and have a great weekend,

Your friend,

Geoff

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2016-12-13T11:05:40+00:00 Blog|46 Comments
  • Rasili O’Connor

    Fantastic Friday Five Geoff (given election results ‘n all).
    I’d been thinking myself: I wonder if Elon Musk will take the opportunity to make a presentation to Donald Trump regarding that (apparently) just 100 factories similar to the one he (Tesla)’s currently got set up (making solar storage batteries) would be enough to transition the whole world(!) to sustainable energy. Good for a start, regarding job creation, etc!

    • donwstewart

      As I read the comments on the election in the US and the negative assessment of ‘anti-EU’ developments in Europe and the supposed faults of Vladimir Putin, it seems to me that almost all of them are missing the essential context. Two of Geoff’s recent posts provide the context I have in mind. The first is his 15 minute audio defining sustainability. Briefly, we have to produce an energy surplus. If we look at food and water, we see that both are enormously negative in terms of energy. In the US, we put in 10 calories of external energy for every dietary calorie we consume. And if we look at water, we spend enormous amounts of energy to deliver a drinkable glass of water. So, at the very basis of life, we are drastically unsustainable.

      The second post by Geoff was his talk on patterns at the just completed Mother Earth News webinars. One of Geoff’s patterns results from shrinkage. If we look at dried and cracked mud in a lake bed, we see the results of shrinkage. As our economic and social system shrinks, we are far more likely to see the cellular patterns as dominant and not some ‘one world’ pattern.

      Another pattern comes from the psychiatrist Daniel Siegel’s new book Mind: A Journey Into the Heart of Being Human. Siegel considers the mind to be an emergent property of the flow of energy and information through not only our brain but our entire body and also between our body and other humans and nature. Ideally, the flows of energy and information are like a smoothly flowing river. But it is all to easy to hit the left bank of rigidity or the right bank of chaos.

      Exactly how to keep a downsized, cellular society flowing smoothly so that it is sustainable in terms of energy is uncertain. What is pretty clear to me is that few pundits even recognize there is a problem. Putin, whatever his other faults may be, does seem to understand that there are context problems. He devoted a speech at the UN to the need for a ‘nature mimicking circular economy’, military veterans are given farms to grow organic food, and he has said that becoming highly dependent on Europe was a mistake.

      Don Stewart

      • Charmaine Millott

        Where I live in Canada our province (BC) decided that based upon research they need to chemically fertilize the forests and they must do it at a time when cattle and wildlife would be least harmed. Oh for heaven sakes! Many of us in this province do not like Trump as president, but it seems we ought to look at our own politicians and their weird research. If they just let the wild life poop here and there and leave the forest alone it will heal itself much better than any chemical can and there won’t be an chemicals in the waterways. I happen to live one house away from one of those forests and am doing permaculture in my yard. Some other permaculturists live in the forested areas too. What can we do to stand up against this and protect not only our land, but our forests and wildlife?

        • donwstewart

          Charmaine
          You might like to take a look at The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. Peter is a forester for a community forest in Germany.

          The book covers a great deal of ground, but one topic which may particularly interest you is the issue of ‘rich’ soil. Many trees do better in relatively low nutrient soil because if the tree has, for example, excess nitrogen, then it grows very rapidly in such a way that it is susceptible to physical damage, pests, and diseases. Peter shows that the life of a tree in a forest may consist of a couple of hundred years of very slow growth in the shade of its elders, and then several hundred years of rapid growth once it reaches the canopy and the older tree die.

          I don’t profess to be a forester, but one of the things that Peter’s book explained to me is that the approach of the Toyota engineer is definitely off at a tangent from that of a natural forest. The engineer may get very rapid growth, but the cost is likely to be trees with poor immune systems.

          Don Stewart

          • Charmaine Millott

            Thanks Don! I’ll be sure to look out for the book. I always believe that the forest can heal itself, even in the face of clearcut logging. When it does it is the best healing. Us humans should take note of that when it comes to ourselves and healing our spirits.

          • @donwstewart I would really like to discuss this soil web approach with you in another forum or offline.

          • donwstewart

            Nigel Powell

            I have worked on a small farm which did not sequester carbon very well at all. The farmer was following the advice to grow lots of biomass above ground and till it under. The recent University of New Hampshire study pretty well demolishes that theory, I believe.

            I have not worked in a forest. I know something about gardening and small scale farming. If you want some information about the soil food web, here are some sources you may like to look at. Get back to me if you want to discuss more…Don Stewart

            Search on ‘Christine Jones Soil Carbon’ and you will find an abundance of articles

            Take a look at:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDtGxOdDj1A

            (most of Christine’s stuff is available for free)

            Take a look at:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yPjoh9YJMk

            (Elaine Ingham’s stuff is mostly for sale)

            Description of Gabe Brown’s upcoming workshop in Asheville, NC.

            (You can find a number of video’s by Gabe)

            Video of Gabe Brown talk:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yPjoh9YJMk

            Soil, water, and sunlight. It is from these resources that all life develops. It is also from these resources that farmers make their living. And in order to ensure both our current success and the sustainability of future generations, we must regenerate our landscapes. Learn about how Brown’s Ranch, located near Bismarck, ND uses cover crops, zero-till, crop and livestock diversity, pasture recovery, and high density grazing as key tools to increase yield, profit, and efficiency. Their ever evolving strategies have significantly improved the mineral and water cycles, allow for 9+ months of grazing, and increase the topsoil and thereby the health of the entire farm.

            Learn these replicable techniques in this full-day workshop, which will cover the following:

            History of Brown’s Ranch

            Soil Health: The soil beneath us is alive! There are more organisms in a teaspoonful of healthy soil than there are people on earth. Learn about:

            Growing Topsoil

            Cover Crop Mixes (to address resource concerns).

            Armor the Soil: Keeping the ground covered at all times.

            Animal Integration

            Using livestock as a tool

            Genetic selection, birthing dates

            Benefits of species diversity

            Holistic Management

            Maximizing income potential through:

            Stacked Enterprises

            Synergy Between Enterprises

          • @donwstewart thanks very much for this. I am aware of Dr Ingham’s work, since we are currently exploring micorrhizae (and glomalin) formation, and some close friends of mine are also progressing through her Soil Food Web course. What I am personally v interested in is trying to produce a blueprint for a post etp ‘dead state’ world. It seems we are spending far too much time talking (nee arguing) and not enough in ‘doing’ (aka planning). 🙂 Feel free to exchange ideas via my email at nigelpowell at hotmail dot com. Cheers.

          • John-Eric Robinson

            Another great resource — Kirstin Ohlson’s 2014 book, The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet.

  • Deborah53

    I am a bit disappointed and confused by what seems to be your take on our recent election in the U.S. If you are getting your information from our very biased mainstream media, I guess I can understand where you are coming from. For a number of years, we have been heading in the direction of more government control of our lives and lesser individual freedom to do what we believe is good and right. That could mean that, in addition to driving us into certain bankruptcy, the ability to set up systems such as you advocate may eventually be taxed and regulated out of existence.

    While far from perfect, I believe that Trump is better than the alternative to begin leading us back in the right direction. There are plenty of politicians on both sides of the aisle who put their own interests above the welfare of the rest of us. The problem is that some of them never seem to get into the news. Let’s wait and see what happens. I, for one, am hopeful for the next four years.

    • Hi Deborah
      Thanks for your sharing your thoughts on Trump, politics, and the election in general. I appreciate the fact that reasonable minds may differ, and as long as discussions happen with a tone of respect, it’s all good.

      Those that voted for Trump becauswe they agree with the racist and misogynistic things he said (and the many dangerous people he seems to have in his inner circle), I simply will not interact with. Sorry, no negotiating on this. We’re living in 2016, and there is absolutely no justification to regress 50, 70, 100 years. I’m here to teach permaculture (which includes people care / people ethics), and there is simply no room for bigotry of any kind.

      On the other hand, though I would could never in a million years support any individual who said the atrocious things that Trump said, I understand that many decent people did in fact vote for him, and did so not because of the things he said, but despite them. The way one friend described it to me was, “I plugged my nose, tried not to breathe in the toxicity, and voted for Trump.”

      Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but I understand that some people have experienced such incredible economic pain with the neoliberal, globalist system, did not trust “another Clinton,” and were so fed up with everything that it really was, “change, change, change.”

      For me, personally, I have very clear, ‘red lines’ that once a person crosses, I can no longer respect them. Bigotry is one of those red lines. Greg Popovich, the socially-conscious coach of the San Antonio Spurs put it best: “That’s what a seventh grade, eighth grade bully does….We would have scolded our kids. We would have had discussions until we were blue in the face trying to get them to understand these things. He is in charge of our country. That’s disgusting. I’m a rich white guy, and I’m sick to my stomach thinking about it. I can’t imagine being a Muslim right now, or a woman, or an African American, a Hispanic, a handicapped person. How disenfranchised they might feel”

      For me, no matter how much economic prosperity someone promises, that can’t override basic human decency. It’s like someone asking me, “I’ll give you a check for 5 million dollars to take away all your economic suffering of the past 10 years if you allow me to insult your black, Mexican, Muslim, Jewish, and women friends.” Personally, I would refuse, and that’s why for me — no matter what Trump does — I’m disappointed that he is representing one of the greatest countries in human history.

      As I said before, I think that both of these power-hungry politicians were disasters, and that Americans were put in a very unfair position of having to choose between two unappealing options. Each represents a different side of the same coin: A worldview that put the interests of a privileged class over the vast majority of the world’s population.

      In any case, what’s done is done. My job here is to help train a generation of kind-hearted people how to take control of their own lives, their own food supply, their own happiness, and their own livelihoods; to create positive, vibrant, diverse communities. And though we would prefer that governments be supportive of these efforts, we can succeed despite whoever happens to be in charge. We don’t need to wait for someone’s permission or blessing: permaculture provides us all the tools and know-how we need to take full responsibility for our own lives.

      So, put politics aside, and instead put our hands together and get to work.

      • Deborah53

        With all due respect, you were the one who brought up the subject of politics, and I felt the need to reply with a different point of view. Judging from some of the other comments here, you seem to have struck a nerve. I am well aware of Trump’s shortcomings. Unfortunately we were forced to decide between two seriously flawed candidates, one of whom would become our next President, whether we liked it or not. Trump crossed some “red lines” for me, but Clinton crossed far more. Regardless of the political leanings of anyone here or the spin that the mainstream media puts on things that have been said and done, it is what it is. Our job now is to put the election behind us and carry on with the task of making the world a better place for everyone in whatever way we can. On that I hope we can agree.

        • Ethan A Young

          “forced to decide between two seriously flawed candidates” — participation in this “coke vs pepsi” false dichotomy groupthink makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy. E.g., Bernie could have had a really successful write-in candidacy and steal votes from both Trump and Clinton, but he chose to capitulate and support the status quo (surprise surprise) of the political machine.

          We need more courageous people to break the groupthink, not participate in it. even then, it takes multiple attempts before something breaks the mould. That includes voting according to love, courage and conscience, not out of fear, which “both sides” are very highly guilty of.

          for the racial, religious and sexual minorities who now face newly-inspired bigotry, it’s pretty hard to just “put the election behind us.”

          Permaculturalists (through fluency in patterning and context) should be as capable as anyone in seeing and rejecting these false dichotomies and anti-democratic systemic groupthinks!

  • John Trainor

    With regard to your first topic above, some of your readers might find value in yet another book / lecture series that slightly predates the US election. The book, “The Return of History – Conflict, Migration and Geopolitics in the Twenty-First Century” by Jenifer Walsh is described as follows:
    ————————————————————————————————————————
    In 1989, as the Berlin Wall crumbled and the Cold War dissipated, the
    American political commentator Francis Fukuyama wrote a famous essay,
    entitled “The End of History.” Fukuyama argued that the demise of
    confrontation between Communism and capitalism, and the expansion of
    Western liberal democracy, signalled the endpoint of humanity’s
    sociocultural and political evolution, the waning of traditional power
    politics, and the path toward a more peaceful world. At the heart of his
    thesis was the audaciously optimistic idea of “progress” in history.

    But a quarter of a century after Fukuyama’s bold prediction about
    transcending the struggles of the past, history has returned. The
    twenty-first century has not seen unfettered progress toward peace and a
    single form of government, but the reappearance of trends and practices
    many believed had been erased: arbitrary executions, attempts to
    annihilate ethnic and religious minorities, the starvation of besieged
    populations, invasion and annexation of territory, and the mass movement
    of refugees and displaced persons. It has also witnessed cracks and
    cleavages within Western liberal democracies, particularly as a result
    of deepening economic inequality — at levels not seen since the end of
    the nineteenth century.

    The Return of History both illustrates and explains this
    return of history. But it also demonstrates how the reappearance of acts
    deemed “barbaric” or “medieval” has a modern twist. Above all, it
    argues that the return of history should encourage us all to remember
    that our own liberal democratic society was not inevitable and that we
    must all, as individual citizens, take a more active role in its
    preservation and growth.

    —————————————————————————————————–

    Information on the lecture series may be found here http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/masseys

  • john mcginnis

    Please understand something. Tesla has not earned a dime since its inception. If you factor in all the subsidized loans and grants against the running cost per unit of production Tesla is in the red.

    “Musk and others have invested $14 billion in the car company in the past
    13 years. Most of that investment, though, has not come from cash
    garnered from making and selling its Model S sedan and Model X SUV, but
    from fresh financings—chiefly from sales of stock, including a
    successful $1.7 billion offering in the second quarter. In fact in the
    next two years, Tesla is expect to raise another $9 billion in
    capital—in order to ramp up to producing 500,000 cars a year and
    complete the Gigafactory, which is Musk’s giant battery manufacturing
    facility in the Nevada desert.”
    http://fortune.com/2016/09/09/tesla-profits-musk/

    Oh and the lawsuits yet to be settled are just now winding thru the courts.

    Musk is a smart guy and he may yet ultimately win with Tesla (hope he does), but a singular quarter of profit does not rate ringing the gong just yet.

  • John-Eric Robinson

    Thank you, Geoff, for the Tobias Stone link. I find it sobering to see recent events in the historical and global context Stone provides. And thank you for modeling global information sharing and for offering an internet-based conversation platform in forums such as these, putting participants in conversation and providing information and inspiration for local organization and action.

    • Ethan A Young

      The Tobias Stone article ironically loses the forest for a single tree of human culture called “civilization.” Toby Hemenway’s work does a far better job of providing big picture context: (http://www.permaculturevoices.com/liberation-permaculture-with-toby-hemenway-pvp100) and “How Permaculture Can Save Humanity and the Earth but not Civilization”
      (lecture given at Duke University Nicholas School of Environment): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nLKHYHmPbo.

      Tobias Stone’s treatment is very narrow and chauvinistic and disempowering in comparison. Civilization represents a small teeny tiny piece of human existence over time and space. Civilization always collapses, especially when we start looking at chunks of time larger than 1k years. Civilized behavior of domesticated humans do not represent “human nature,” which is much more resilient, diverse and complex.

      I’m really surprised Geoff didn’t refer to Toby’s work at least in part to give Tobias’ work some much needed context and reality check. I also have issues with the social darwinism in the article, the simplistic idea of “killing off weak genes” has long been disproven. Sickle-cell anemia is a weak gene…until you put it in the context of malaria. Bone density is as strong gene…until you start spending a lot of time around water. Or until your life depends on your ability to fly (birds). We need more biodiversity, not wholesale purges of it.

      • Hi Ethan yes Toby does a great job of getting the message across, but there are many interesting ways to view this, like: Eugène Marais and his great book “The Soul of the White Ant”
        We can all be learning as we all agree we are aiming in the same direction towards the same destination.

        • Ethan A Young

          thanks for the book recommendation, Geoff, and for everything you and PRI are doing

    • Thanks John-Eric my pleasure

  • Jean Lanzilotti

    The political articles all seem to put Trump down as some sort of dangerous demagogue. Yet, being the father of five children and meeting some “magnificent” kids whose fathers once wanted them aborted and later changed their minds, Trump is now pro-life. Evangelical and practicing Catholic Christians were a big support to Trump because they are counting on him to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices who will protect innocent human unborn life from the barbaric violence of abortions done by dismembering or chemically burning or eliminating human embryos and fetuses. Hillary is in favor of abortion up til birth.
    Also, the three articles also don’t seem to mention “free” trade deals instituted by Bill Clinton and Robert Rubin. NAFTA sold out American workers. “Free” trade deals allow corporations to sue nations for lost profits if countries’ labor and environmental laws interfere with corporate profits. Hillary Clinton referred to the Trans Pacific Partnership as the “gold standard,” but changed her stance when the public rejected it. She also received hundreds of thousands of dollars to talk with bankster organizations like Gold-man Sacks.
    I also didn’t see mention of the Clinton Foundation receiving $25 million from Saudi Arabia and how the State Department under Hillary Clinton approved the largest arms deal of all time to Saudi Arabia which is now destroying Yemen and promotes its radical Wahhabism ideology throughout the world. Saudi Arabia is known to be oppressive to women and Christians. Hillary Clinton was also apparently behind the war in Libya and eliminating Quaddafi. Libya is now in chaos. She seemed delighted as she told Barbara Walters, “We came, we saw, he died.”

    So how is Hillary Clinton the safe and reasonable candidate compared to Trump?

    Please look at sources beyond USA mainstream media which are owned by the same six large corporations. Try zerohedge, infowars, rt.com, and other sources that don’t promote the neoconservative ideology that has led to many wars and gross wealth inequality from globalist regulations that favor large international corporations that practice tax evasion, social engineering, and cultural and environmental pollution.

    • Hi Jean
      Thanks for your sharing your thoughts on Trump, politics, and the election in general. I appreciate the fact that reasonable minds may differ, and as long as discussions happen with a tone of respect, it’s all good.

      Those that voted for Trump becauswe they agree with the racist and misogynistic things he said (and the many dangerous people he seems to have in his inner circle), I simply will not interact with. Sorry, no negotiating on this. We’re living in 2016, and there is absolutely no justification to regress 50, 70, 100 years. I’m here to teach permaculture (which includes people care / people ethics), and there is simply no room for bigotry of any kind.

      On the other hand, though I would could never in a million years support any individual who said the atrocious things that Trump said, I understand that many decent people did in fact vote for him, and did so not because of the things he said, but despite them. The way one friend described it to me was, “I plugged my nose, tried not to breathe in the toxicity, and voted for Trump.”

      Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but I understand that some people have experienced such incredible economic pain with the neoliberal, globalist system, did not trust “another Clinton,” and were so fed up with everything that it really was, “change, change, change.”

      For me, personally, I have very clear, ‘red lines’ that once a person crosses, I can no longer respect them. Bigotry is one of those red lines. Greg Popovich, the socially-conscious coach of the San Antonio Spurs put it best: “That’s what a seventh grade, eighth grade bully does….We would have scolded our kids. We would have had discussions until we were blue in the face trying to get them to understand these things. He is in charge of our country. That’s disgusting. I’m a rich white guy, and I’m sick to my stomach thinking about it. I can’t imagine being a Muslim right now, or a woman, or an African American, a Hispanic, a handicapped person. How disenfranchised they might feel”

      For me, no matter how much economic prosperity someone promises, that can’t override basic human decency. It’s like someone asking me, “I’ll give you a check for 5 million dollars to take away all your economic suffering of the past 10 years if you allow me to insult your black, Mexican, Muslim, Jewish, and women friends.” Personally, I would refuse, and that’s why for me — no matter what Trump does — I’m disappointed that he is representing one of the greatest countries in human history.

      As I said before, I think that both of these power-hungry politicians were disasters, and that Americans were put in a very unfair position of having to choose between two unappealing options. Each represents a different side of the same coin: A worldview that put the interests of a privileged class over the vast majority of the world’s population.

      In any case, what’s done is done. My job here is to help train a generation of kind-hearted people how to take control of their own lives, their own food supply, their own happiness, and their own livelihoods; to create positive, vibrant, diverse communities. And though we would prefer that governments be supportive of these efforts, we can succeed despite whoever happens to be in charge. We don’t need to wait for someone’s permission or blessing: permaculture provides us all the tools and know-how we need to take full responsibility for our own lives.

      So, put politics aside, and instead put our hands together and get to work.

  • bri

    The circus came to town, and then it went away again. Elections and referendums are the political circuses. I believe now the most important aspect of such events is the distraction value. Whilst everyone is watching the circus, they don’t notice all the other things that are more important sneaking through un-reported. Mainly trying to get everyone to argue. Then try and keep up the momentum so the argument turns in to a fight. My opinion, your opinion, their opinion does not matter. What matters is that we live on the same planet and should try to get along better. The establishment hates peace and love.

  • xx

    My heart sank when I read your comments about the election, although I do understand that for you this is personal in a way that it cannot be for me. What was really disappointing is that you seem to have accepted one side of the argument without question, denying as they do that the other side even has anything to say, has any other legitimate perspective. Reading the other comments here has been a bit of relief, because they have restored my faith in the permaculture movement.
    For me, the biggest attraction of permaculture was that it is a positive movement looking to make things better, not a negative one looking to demonise all who disagree. Unfortunately, your friday fives seem to have become increasingly political, in the manner of the fake “green” parties that offer but a thin veneer of green covering a big ball of red – hence the term watermelons. My fear was that with the passing of the incomparable Bill Mollison, permaculture would fall to the ideologues and “activists”.
    You, of all people, had struck me as a builder, one willing to work with everybody to build a better world. Lately, it seems that you are caving in to pressure from the dominant progressive ideology, touting people pushing totalitarian measures disguised as science, and seemingly endorsing some of the most aggressive and repressive political movements. For a while, I bit my tongue because it was your videos that introduced me to permaculture, and the movement would not where it is were it not for you.
    The last email was the last straw, sent as it was *after* it had become obvious that the global progressive class that dominates the west had been lying about everything – even to itself – in order to gin up the fear and hate that has exploded in response to the election of a dissident and a heretic.The irony of holding up a sign saying “Love Trumps Hate” while wearing stickers saying “Decapitate Trump” and dismembering effigies is lost on them. Is it also lost on you?
    Much worse is happening, of course, but the media has chosen to hide it, and their supporters will never look. Old men attacked for daring to support Trump (one by an “anti-bullying” activist), a small black boy in tears being horribly abused BY HIS OWN MOTHER for supporting Trump in a school mock election (the video is too horrible and painful to watch, let alone post here, but I’m sure google can find it for you). And yet, we are told that it is Trump who is a threat to our democratic institutions.
    Anyway, this is not a diatribe against the Orwellian propaganda of the totalitarian progressives, but rather a plea for sanity. Please stop pouring gasoline on the fire, and open your eyes, even if it means realising that you have been lied to about everything, and that the hate is coming from those you trusted and believed, not those you fear. Pay attention to what Trump has said and done since the election.
    Even Van Jones (a Communist) at CNN has come to his senses. Election night he refused to believe the assurances in Trump’s magnanimous victory speech, expressing great fear, but now he seems surprised and even grateful at the President-elect’s behaviour. This surprised me, because I always assumed that he was smart enough to know the truth, but was lying in order to gin up hatred for Trump. It turns out he may actually have drunk the Kool-Aid himself, and is now relieved that he was so wrong.
    Not to turn this into an essay, I am not going to try to explain just how horribly, dangerously, wrong (and evil) the propagandists are, but rather to ask two things of you. First is to please, please not let your fears overcome your judgment, for fear is what evil people use to generate hate – the hate that has exploded in the streets of the US in the past few days. The second is to please try to listen to the other side of the story, even if you are convinced that your side is always 100% right, and the other 100% evil – an irredeemable basket of deplorables, as it were.
    Do you not find it strange that some of those who claim to want sustainability are so eager to strip-mine the economy with unsustainable extractive taxation, to pollute the culture with the most vile and historically destructive practices? That those who claim to love the earth are in full revolt against their own biology, seeking total domination over it? That those who preach love so readily resort to hate and violence and destruction?
    We need you, Geoff, for the work that you are doing is vital to our future. Please do not allow yourself to become a tool of the power hungry, because that will only serve to distract you from your great work and to disillusion and dispirit those who seek to join you (at least the decent ones). Even when it comes to politics, your work in the ME offers the first real hope for real peace in a long time – a way out of the horrible dilemmas of the region. But this will not come to pass if you lock yourself into one side and refuse to see the other pov, for that is what created this sorry mess in the first place.
    My own interest in permaculture, though of fairly recent origin, is multifold. Beautiful though the gardens are, what is even more beautiful is the possibility that we finally have a way to care for the planet without handing over even more power over our lives to those who created the mess in the first place. Better still, permaculture gives us an opportunity to build biological capital without destroying other forms of capital, like social capital, human capital, economic capital, intellectual capital, etc.
    Please do not throw all that promise away to sign up as a foot soldier in the army of hate.

    • Hi XX
      Thanks for your sharing your thoughts on Trump, politics, and the election in general. I appreciate the fact that reasonable minds may differ, and as long as discussions happen with a tone of respect, it’s all good.

      Those that voted for Trump becauswe they agree with the racist and misogynistic things he said (and the many dangerous people he seems to have in his inner circle), I simply will not interact with. Sorry, no negotiating on this. We’re living in 2016, and there is absolutely no justification to regress 50, 70, 100 years. I’m here to teach permaculture (which includes people care / people ethics), and there is simply no room for bigotry of any kind.

      On the other hand, though I would could never in a million years support any individual who said the atrocious things that Trump said, I understand that many decent people did in fact vote for him, and did so not because of the things he said, but despite them. The way one friend described it to me was, “I plugged my nose, tried not to breathe in the toxicity, and voted for Trump.”

      Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but I understand that some people have experienced such incredible economic pain with the neoliberal, globalist system, did not trust “another Clinton,” and were so fed up with everything that it really was, “change, change, change.”

      For me, personally, I have very clear, ‘red lines’ that once a person crosses, I can no longer respect them. Bigotry is one of those red lines. Greg Popovich, the socially-conscious coach of the San Antonio Spurs put it best: “That’s what a seventh grade, eighth grade bully does….We would have scolded our kids. We would have had discussions until we were blue in the face trying to get them to understand these things. He is in charge of our country. That’s disgusting. I’m a rich white guy, and I’m sick to my stomach thinking about it. I can’t imagine being a Muslim right now, or a woman, or an African American, a Hispanic, a handicapped person. How disenfranchised they might feel”

      For me, no matter how much economic prosperity someone promises, that can’t override basic human decency. It’s like someone asking me, “I’ll give you a check for 5 million dollars to take away all your economic suffering of the past 10 years if you allow me to insult your black, Mexican, Muslim, Jewish, and women friends.” Personally, I would refuse, and that’s why for me — no matter what Trump does — I’m disappointed that he is representing one of the greatest countries in human history.

      As I said before, I think that both of these power-hungry politicians were disasters, and that Americans were put in a very unfair position of having to choose between two unappealing options. Each represents a different side of the same coin: A worldview that put the interests of a privileged class over the vast majority of the world’s population.

      In any case, what’s done is done. My job here is to help train a generation of kind-hearted people how to take control of their own lives, their own food supply, their own happiness, and their own livelihoods; to create positive, vibrant, diverse communities. And though we would prefer that governments be supportive of these efforts, we can succeed despite whoever happens to be in charge. We don’t need to wait for someone’s permission or blessing: permaculture provides us all the tools and know-how we need to take full responsibility for our own lives.

      So, put politics aside, and instead put our hands together and get to work.

  • rclobes

    I was disappointed to see you wade into American Politics. This site will tell you what you need to know:

    https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/international-news/north_america/2016-u-s-presidential-election/the-real-clinton-conspiracy-that-backfired-the-worst-candiate-in-american-history/

    Hillary Clinton wanted to be the first female president of the USA at all costs. Fortunately there were enough people in enough states that saw through this one. I for one find it interesting that nobody in the Democratic party is pleading for calm with all the rioting that is going on in the bigger cities. The pendulum swings back and forth. The Democrats led the discussion for the last 8 years. Now, it is the Republican’s turn.

    • Ethan A Young

      “this site will tell you what you need to know…” REALLY????? how about, let others do their own research, discuss openly, honestly with courage, and then come together and collaborate wherever possible from a position of mutual consent vs projecting your “i know better than you” crap on others?

      • rclobes

        There’s not a lot to discuss when it is black on white for all to read.

    • Hi rclobes
      Thanks for your sharing your thoughts on Trump, politics, and the election in general. I appreciate the fact that reasonable minds may differ, and as long as discussions happen with a tone of respect, it’s all good.

      Those that voted for Trump becauswe they agree with the racist and misogynistic things he said (and the many dangerous people he seems to have in his inner circle), I simply will not interact with. Sorry, no negotiating on this. We’re living in 2016, and there is absolutely no justification to regress 50, 70, 100 years. I’m here to teach permaculture (which includes people care / people ethics), and there is simply no room for bigotry of any kind.

      On the other hand, though I would could never in a million years support any individual who said the atrocious things that Trump said, I understand that many decent people did in fact vote for him, and did so not because of the things he said, but despite them. The way one friend described it to me was, “I plugged my nose, tried not to breathe in the toxicity, and voted for Trump.”

      Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but I understand that some people have experienced such incredible economic pain with the neoliberal, globalist system, did not trust “another Clinton,” and were so fed up with everything that it really was, “change, change, change.”

      For me, personally, I have very clear, ‘red lines’ that once a person crosses, I can no longer respect them. Bigotry is one of those red lines. Greg Popovich, the socially-conscious coach of the San Antonio Spurs put it best: “That’s what a seventh grade, eighth grade bully does….We would have scolded our kids. We would have had discussions until we were blue in the face trying to get them to understand these things. He is in charge of our country. That’s disgusting. I’m a rich white guy, and I’m sick to my stomach thinking about it. I can’t imagine being a Muslim right now, or a woman, or an African American, a Hispanic, a handicapped person. How disenfranchised they might feel”

      For me, no matter how much economic prosperity someone promises, that can’t override basic human decency. It’s like someone asking me, “I’ll give you a check for 5 million dollars to take away all your economic suffering of the past 10 years if you allow me to insult your black, Mexican, Muslim, Jewish, and women friends.” Personally, I would refuse, and that’s why for me — no matter what Trump does — I’m disappointed that he is representing one of the greatest countries in human history.

      As I said before, I think that both of these power-hungry politicians were disasters, and that Americans were put in a very unfair position of having to choose between two unappealing options. Each represents a different side of the same coin: A worldview that put the interests of a privileged class over the vast majority of the world’s population.

      In any case, what’s done is done. My job here is to help train a generation of kind-hearted people how to take control of their own lives, their own food supply, their own happiness, and their own livelihoods; to create positive, vibrant, diverse communities. And though we would prefer that governments be supportive of these efforts, we can succeed despite whoever happens to be in charge. We don’t need to wait for someone’s permission or blessing: permaculture provides us all the tools and know-how we need to take full responsibility for our own lives.

      So, put politics aside, and instead put our hands together and get to work.

      • rclobes

        I did not vote for Trump because I thought he was a nice man. The alternative was more frightening. Obama had us on a path of war with Russia and it appeared that Clinton intended to finish what Obama started. The US was meddling in the Ukraine when we had no business being over there. The Crimea has been part of Russia since Catherine the Great. In fact making the Crimea a part of Russia, and giving Russia access to a warm water port is what made Catherine “The Great”. Trump is more isolationist and it appears will put a stop to Obama’s efforts. I personally don’t want to take my Permaculture skills to the level of learning how to re-mediate nuclear contaminated soil. I’m sure Permaculture is up to the task, but I don’t want to prove it on a global scale.

        Now, on to the topic of Bigotry. Here in the US, Oregon specifically, (and there are numerous similar examples elsewhere), a bakery was fined out of business for refusing to bake a cake for a homosexual couple planning to marry. Public access laws should NEVER be applied to private business. Forcing people to enter a business contract when they don’t want to is just plain WRONG! It is Tyranny. If you are refused service, just take your business elsewhere. Let the marketplace decide who stays in business and who doesn’t. I am afraid I am going to be disappointed with Trump in this area because he is NOT a Christian, but Clinton promised more of the same. Do you go with the devil you know or do you take a chance on a different devil?

        There is a lesson in the recent US election. Trump gathered more votes than Romney did four years ago (Romney was the Republican candidate who lost to Obama for those outside of the US). Hilary Clinton gathered FEWER votes (by far) than did Obama four years ago. We can conclude that either the Democrats figured their candidate was going to win handily and didn’t bother voting or they just didn’t support her. When you vote in an election, you have to sign a ledger before you get your ballot. Those ledgers are public documents. While I may not know who you voted for, I can know if you voted! Those protesters that are out there trashing the place and getting arrested: only about 12% voted. The rest did not. Now in my humble opinion, if you don’t participate in the legal means to affect the outcome of the election, then you have no right to riot when you don’t like the outcome of the election. Fair Enough?

        [In any case, what’s done is done. My job here is to help train a generation of kind-hearted people how to take control of their own lives, their own food supply, their own happiness, and their own livelihoods; to create positive, vibrant, diverse communities. And though we would prefer that governments be supportive of these efforts, we can succeed despite whoever happens to be in charge. We don’t need to wait for someone’s permission or blessing: permaculture provides us all the tools and know-how we need to take full responsibility for our own lives.

        So, put politics aside, and instead put our hands together and get to work.]

        I agree 100%. While I don’t agree with your world view, I do applaud your work and I am grateful for your efforts teaching others…thank you!, Thank You!!, THANK YOU!!!

        • Ethan A Young

          your Oregon example confuses “holding people accountable for prejudice and bigotry” and “tyranny.” the absence of the former (accountability) results in tyranny because it allows bigotry to metastasize and institutionalize. how the accountability occurs — that is another level of discussion. the government only intervened in this case due to grassroots democratic organizing of ordinary people against institutionalized heterosexist privilege. government (whether actively or passively) protecting institutionalized homophobia and heterosexism is tyranny. it’s not quite “so black and white for all to read.”

          That business shut itself down due to its own homophobia. The proprietor flew off the handle and chose to dig her heels into her homophobia, fear and hatred rather than accept and respect the diversity of the market she serves. It’s a changing marketplace, more transparent and honest as the results of decades of organizing for gender justice.

          and all this election hullaballoo is just Coke vs Pepsi. Most of us seem to want clean water, but seem to keep drinking the kool-aid instead.

          regardless, i hope when you thank Geoff for his comment, “My job here is to help train a generation of kind-hearted people how to take control of their own lives, their own food supply, their own happiness, and their own livelihoods; to create positive, vibrant,
          diverse communities,” that you include gender and sexual diversity in all that. Geoff trains PEOPLE, regardless of race, sex, gender, religion, etc.

          sincerely,
          another Oregonian

          • rclobes

            So let us suppose you owned a lumber yard and I came in one day to buy lumber and I let slip that I was building a torture chamber for puppies. What would your response be?

          • Ethan A Young

            hypothetically: it wouldn’t surprise me one bit, given the homophobia in your comments, that you also torture puppies. power and control, is, after all, a slippery slope.

            non-hypothetically: you seem incapable of making a distinction between disparities of power
            and control on one hand, and consent, collaboration and partnership on
            the other.

            and it saddens me deeply to hear someone compare their homophobia to moral opposition to torture. the same-sex couple in question wanted a wedding cake to celebrate their consensual love for one-another. consensual love makes the world a better place and hurts no one, least of all you or the person whose wedding cakes they admired. what a nonsensical justification for atrocious beliefs. your moral compass seems completely broken, and you’re taking it out on others.

            grab some courage and love, let go of your object-oriented worldview
            that confuses domination, power, control and hegemony with security. at the very least, please stop projecting your corrupted
            worldview on others.
            all object-oriented worldviews do is turn society into a ponzi scheme
            authoritarian hierarchy. you claim to oppose “tyranny” but you really seem lock-step in line with it.

            wow. we have a lot of work to do. thank you for the reminder of how
            civil society tends to stunt human capacities and prevent us from
            reaching our full individual and social potentials. this is why I think we need to start looking more at the social, psychological and cultural aspects of permaculture. How far can we get as a movement with people engulfed in a culture of fear, domination and hatred? Permaculture I think also necessitates some form of decolonization work.

          • rclobes

            Ok, I take it you don’t mind the inconsistency in your argument and you won’t sell me the lumber, correct?

            I’ll be gentler this time. Maybe you’re a beekeeper who wants to practice what is called “Natural Beekeeping” That is letting the bees be bees and staying out of their business as much as possible. You give them a nice home and collect rent in the Fall. Suppose you want to use a Warre hive and use top bars. Now suppose you live in a Western European country where you are forced to treat for varroa mites and must submit to an annual inspection which is really destructive for the Warre hive owners. Treating for mites creates stronger mites and weaker bees, Correct?. Do you REALLY want government telling you what to do?

            OK, We’ve had BREXIT and we have President Trump, Next is France and Germany. How long before you realize that socialism doesn’t work and is collapsing? Calling people names and humiliating them doesn’t change their opinion. You need to reason with them. Unfortunately, racism, sexism, homophobia, and whatever phobia and ism you can think of is going to be around as long as two people remain on this earth. Good luck with your world view. I’ll keep mine. Thanks for the enlightening conversation.

          • Ethan A Young

            it’s impossible to have an inconsistency in response to a morally- and logically-indefensible and broken position of equating these two scenarios:
            1. you get married with someone, and ask someone whose cakes you like to bake you a cake. they refuse on the grounds that they don’t like the “match” between two categories of consenting adults.
            2. they don’t like your choice so much that they put themselves in the victim role of “object” comparing themselves to puppies getting tortured simply because they offer to bake cakes for weddings and somehow want to claim the “right” to arbitrarily discriminate against (and violate the fundamental and inalienable rights of) entire classes of people.

            A morally- and logically-analogous scenario would be something along the lines of a DV abuser shopping for a wedding cake, and “let’s slip” that the marriage isn’t “entirely consensual.” So then at that point, there’s a strong moral and ethical justification not only to refuse to sell the cake, but to do much more than that: intervene directly in the controlling violence, in whatever capacity we have. Even radical anarchists call on the police sometimes. We use the tools at our disposal, all of which have appropriate or inappropriate contexts of use.

            A system that protects diversity and liberty must be entirely intolerant of positions that do not tolerate diversity or liberty. Nothing problematic or logically inconsistent with that whatsoever, as long as it is the only form of hierarchy. The problem is that this form of hierarchy is fairly new to civil society (although much more familiar to ecological ethnicities), civil society embodies many other arbitrary, persistent and imposed forms of hierarchy as well, creating an intersection of oppressions that can nullify or complicate liberatory potentials and tools. Some of these intersecting oppressions remain formally encoded in law. Some, such as your apparent-homophobia, remain informal cultural institutions. So we work on both legal and cultural levels, which means fighting homophobia with legal tools, wherever available and appropriate, even as we continue to eradicate the cultural roots of such fear and hatred (which also has some roots in our food system, both intersectionally as grain-based monocultures tend toward authoritarianism, and also in parallel as grain-based monocultures directly cause chronic brain inflammation responsible for anxiety and irritability, which in turn further sabotages the social capacities needed to sustain relationships in a non-hierarchical society, let alone relationships amidst extant institutionalized and internalized authoritarian hierarchies and other social control).

            some government intervention actually happens because of grassroots activism, not corporatocratic control ($$pesticides$$). blanket statements do not apply. nor does your outdated and intolerant “separate but equal” argument.

            precisely because of grassroots work on animal rights for many decades, people who refuse to support the torture of puppies are now protected under law, which is also bringing us one step closer to eliminating (corporate) animal experimentation, which our legal system still defends — another morally and logically broken system, same as your own.

            if you can find it in your heart to stomach the human rights component, you’d probably enjoy participating in the Community Rights movement. There’s a fairly strong section of it here in Oregon. we do liberatory work sandwiched between the oppressive likes of prejudicial people working to protect and defend legal or cultural levels of oppression on the one hand, and the extant corporatocratic government system on the other.

            The bee situation will work itself out once people demonstrate to the myopic system that, if it truly supports the “welfare of bees,” conventional practices form a system of exploitation counter to the welfare of the species. That means breaking the law in the mean time. That’s how women got the right to vote, and that’s how queers got the right to marry. Basic human rights. Basic rights of nature. The struggle continues…

            Lastly, I never called you names. All I have to discuss are the weird and atrocious things you have said up to this point. Get that distinction? I never called you weird and atrocious. But you’ve definitely said some weird and atrocious things. I know how difficult it is to receive such feedback. I hope you are strong enough to stomach it. And anyone who says such horrible things should feel a little humility for getting called on it. That’s a GOOD thing. It means you still have a social conscience 🙂 If you felt nothing, that would really concern me. But just because you feel bad doesn’t mean someone actually called you names.

            Observation vs interpretation is arguably one of the most fundamental skill sets in permaculture design. Permaculture won’t become commonplace among people until observation vs interpretation does.

          • Ethan A Young

            oh, the comment about socialism…Check out Toby’s talk. It really boils down to societies based on grain monocultures and patriarchy, which tend toward institutionalized authoritarian hierarchies. No matter if they try to be “capitalist” or “socialist” or even “anarchist” in nature, they remain morally and logically broken and so corrupt any efforts for liberatory struggle accordingly. For example, the radical left deals with “manarchists” who profess to equality but still want to retain male privilege and social control of and access to women’s bodies.

            Where societies transition away from such controlling and destructive practices (e.g., by adopting decentralized and diverse food systems based on perennial polycultures instead), we see greater freedom and protection of human rights, regardless of whatever names they call themselves.

  • Kent Knock

    Wow! I was a little surprised to see so much politics in a Friday Five. Granted, it does appear that the current political events are more dangerous than anything that has happened for a long while. The people in power and those coming into power all seem to be concerned only about themselves and (maybe) some of their friends. There is little concern evident for the commons, common people, or the common good. However, what is the purpose is discussing it unless there are proposed courses of action?

    “Think globally, act locally” is probably the only practical course for most. Permaculture projects, soil restoration, etc. can demonstrate a better way if we are not overtaken by larger scale catastrophe. Maybe the general population will realize there is a(only one?!!) problem while there is still time to change. At that point, the demonstration projects will be valuable. Keep up the good work. Geoff!

    As far as political discussion, look at the comments. If you find promising ideas, maybe they should be handed to another entity– you don’t want to use permaculture motivation on mere political jibber jabber!

  • xx

    Yes, I have been surprised at the increasingly political tone of the friday five, and I have tried to ignore it, but this latest salvo of thinly-disguised hate really hit home. Yes, I don’t want to use permaculture motivation on mere political jibber jabber, which is precisely why I felt I had to respond. I suspect that neither Geoff nor you truly understand just how nasty and libelous the political attacks he forwarded really are. Those making the attacks are, in fact, the demagogues, and all the violence to date is all coming from their side.
    I do not expect to convince you or even Geoff of those facts, but I do hope that I have expressed the great distress that many must feel at this blatant use of permaculture to support some of the vilest political propaganda of our times. Demonising millions of peaceful people just because they oppose increasingly oppressive and destructive power structures is not what I thought permaculture was about. In fact, I thought that permaculture was one of the few (the only?) green movements not yet recruited to provide cover for totalitarian Marxist ideologues.
    “Think globally, act locally” is ironic in this context, since those wanting to “act locally” are the ones being patronised and demonised. Permaculture projects, soil restoration, etc. is actually the only reason I am here, and the entire point of my comment was a plea to Geoff to drop the political attacks and go back to showing us how to make this work. I find it bitterly ironic that the very people we are going to need on our side (just look at a county map of the US election) are being demonised precisely because they have dared to peacefully question their “betters”, who rule them from afar.This change represents an opportunity to reach out to the people we most need to reach, and not the threat that those in power see it as.
    To not end on a bitter note, the recent homesteading summit had lots of wonderful people (including Geoff, with the amazing work he is doing in the ME), and exactly the sort of knowledge and experience sharing that we need to move things in the right direction. Can we agree to focus on that sort of thing?

    • Kent Knock

      Hi Anonymous,
      Don’t get me wrong- if you have a good political goal you should pursue it vigorously. You should resist evil (if you are sure what that is). But I don’t think Geoff or anyone else here is promoting evil or hatred. Quite the contrary. That wold be against a permaculture principal of “people care”. However, it is likely that getting too far into politics will detract from the good that can be done–that I agree.

      Do note that the unhappy folk taking over politics here in the USA are climate change deniers and are likely to promote activities that worsen that situation. That is a truly bad thing for “local” worldwide if the climate is changing because of human activity (If you are a “denier”, that is irrelevant). Unfortunately, the permaculture movement cannot do anything about that that I can see. Demonstrate the better way for the future.
      Hang in there! Forget the Marxists, elite, fascists, totalitarians, etc. Think of rainwater capture, swales, good deeds, etc.!!

      • rclobes

        There is a roughly 300 year solar cycle that drives the climate. Not a whole lot you can do about it other than roll with it.

        Start digging around here: Martin Armstrong has developed an incredibly accurate economic model of the world going back about 5000 years or so. His data points are coins. He is a trader and has accumulated a massive coin collection which he has studied to build his economic model. He is also a physicist and a top notch programmer.

        https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/world-news/climate/the-new-mini-ice-age-coming-rapidly/

        What is currently known as “Climate Change” is just a grab to control the world’s energy. You control energy, you control the world. In the 1960’s we were going to freeze in the coming Ice Age. In the 1980’s we were going to burn up. Now, because the dire predictions are not coming true, it is just called “Climate change” so nobody can argue.

        I agree 100% that we are to be good stewards of the earth and that we are currently not doing a very good job of it. I do not buy Global Warming or Climate Change. I also do not believe the earth is more than 7000 years old. A lot of the ideas that the earth is older are based on Carbon 14 dating and similar techniques with longer half life elements. We all know how Carbon 14 dating is done and the science seems beyond dispute. However, it is based on an assumption that is so big most people can’t even see it. The assumption is, “The way things are is the way it has always been.” How safe is that assumption? All ancient calendars are based on a 360 day year. Why would the ancients have used a calendar that was off by a month every 6 years? Were they stupid? Anybody that can live off the land by foraging has my respect! How does one go about figuring out how long a year is? Does it take sophisticated equipment? Hardly! A stick in the ground and a lot of patience is all it takes. Also know that the Mayans added 5.245 EVIL days to their calendar. Why were the days considered evil? So if we believe the ancients when they said the year was 360 days long, when did that change? How did it change? Oh, and now you know how the circle got divided into 360 degrees and the degree is divided into hours, minutes, and seconds. That is a mathematical fossil!

        How is a geological fossil created? How do you explain dragon flies in the fossil record with 2 foot wingspans? How do you explain over 70,000 rocks in South America with carvings that depict humans interacting with Dinosaurs? What do you do with the Dragons in ancient literature? How do you explain massive underwater structures near the Bahamas that look “Man Made?” What do you do with Continental Drift?

        All I want to accomplish with this little rant is to explain that there are people out there that are not Global warming advocates or climate change believers, why they think the way they do and that they are not being irrational. I certainly admire the work Geoff Lawton and others are doing with Permaculture. I believe we are to be good stewards of this earth and Permaculture is a great way to accomplish that.

        • Ethan A Young

          ‘If you control the oil you control the country; if you control food, you control the population.” At least according to Henry Kissinger. Climate change is less of a political ploy (don’t get me wrong, power mongers will try to exploit it) than a global “oh shit,” moment.

      • xx

        Hi Kent,

        I must have come on too strong, because I do not believe that Geoff is deliberately promoting evil, and certainly do not believe that he is even aware that there is another legitimate pov. I also understand the pressures on someone in his position to take sides, and have little hope of countering that other than appealing to his sense of fairness.

        I try to steer clear of religious arguments, but I do not find ad hominem attacks convincing . I believe that permaculture has both a far better argument for taking the extra CO2 out of the atmosphere, and an effective mechanism for doing so. I also believe that persuasion beats aggression in the long run, and that imposing centralised “solutions” is the road to planetary ruin. And then there are the ethical concerns, which you may or may not share.

        Strangely enough, these heretical ideas about permaculture come from Geoff himself, unless I have completely misunderstood him. As he put it, permaculture is carbon positive because we use carbon to build life. Virtue signaling may be a powerful motivator in the rich cities, but a better argument in the rural areas may be that we *need* that carbon in the soil, and that we have powerful techniques to put it there. And rural areas is where most of the land is.

        My great fear is that the moment that the “climate change” leaders realised that permaculture could rapidly sequester all that carbon, and do so while meeting the needs of people and planet, they would turn on permaculture and destroy it. They see CO2 as their ticket to unlimited power.

        I don’t think the permaculture movement could survive the kind of demonisation that they have subjected the unhappy people in the US to, who have finally gotten sick of the bullying. It would not take them long to paint us all as a threat to public health, or to find some other way to shut us down. I am willing to be labeled a “denier” rather than risk such an outcome.

        Sorry for banging on. I think I’ll take your advice now and go read about tropical forest gardens high in the rockies.

        Cheers,

        Lou.

    • John-Eric Robinson

      Nope. We can certainly agree to disagree, but to censor Geoff’s right to post content as he sees fit is not something I agree to. Forbidding the discussion of politics on this forum would limit our capacity to speak of the contexts in which we practice permaculture. Furthermore, we need to be able to speak of effective community organizing, a key ingredient of permaculture as taught by both Geoff Lawton and his mentor Bill Mollison.

      (By the way, a demagogue is a political leader who tries to convince through emotion rather than reason; the links Geoff included were to articles by people who hold no political office and who write reasoned arguments.)

      • xx

        Yes, I suppose we must disagree. The absurdity of your (or google’s?) definition of a demagogue becomes clear when one contemplates the career of an infamous Austrian corporal, or that of the author of Das Kapital. The former was a demagogue long before he held office, while the latter never held office but is perhaps the greatest demagogue in history.

        A demagogue is a person of influence who incites fear and hatred in his followers towards a group of people, usually by impugning their motives and misrepresenting their positions. This definition fits the authors of the links to a T. The misrepresentation would be comic were it not so tragic.My point to Geoff was that the people demonised in the articles he linked are the very ones we need to reach if we want to do more than signal our virtue.

        Speaking of misrepresentation, the idea that I have either the right, or the intention, or the capability of censoring Geoff’s right to post content as he sees fit is risible. I am actually subscribed to the friday five, and only ended up posting here because that was suggested in the email. Perhaps that was a mistake.

        I had no intention of starting an argument, especially with somebody who seems to think that
        what the world needs is yet another “green” “activist” movement. Mollison’s great genius lay in his rejection of activism in favour of what he called positivism, IIRC. If I have misunderstood or misrepresented your position in any way, please correct me and I will be happy to continue the conversation.

        Otherwise, have a nice day.

        • John-Eric Robinson

          The definition comes from Merriam-Webster. I take it you don’t find the United States’ president-elect demagogic?

          • xx

            I was tempted to give a snarky reply, but I realise that the deluge of bigotry and hate spewing from every media orifice sometimes makes it hard to see the obvious. All the bullying, violence, and intimidation has come from the president-elect’s opponents, so that tells you which side the demagogues are on.
            It’s actually worse than demagoguery, since two major operatives were fired once Project Veritas videos came out, effectively confirming that they were actively organising the violence. You are aware that they shut down a Trump appearance in Chicago, right?