Beyond organic…

Hi, this is Geoff.

As the subject line implies, permaculture has always been about far more than just food. Scott London said in this introduction to an interview he did with permaculture’s founder, Bill Mollison: Permaculture is “…an integrated design philosophy that encompasses gardening, architecture, horticulture, ecology, even money management and community design.” Money management and community design. I wanted to use a couple of the entries in this week’s Friday Five to share a perspective on these lesser-discussed aspects of permaculture that go well beyond organic food and farm.

In Bill’s own words: For those who want to see Scott’s full interview with Bill, you can do so here. And Bill’s final words in that interview show just how wide he was envisioning permaculture to be: “…it’s a revolution. But permaculture is anti-political. There is no room for politicians or administrators or priests. And there are no laws either. The only ethics we obey are: care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends.”

(Dis)connecting? In an incredible 10-part tweetstorm, Tony Fadell, one of the main innovators credited with birthing some of Apple’s most iconic products into the world (along with Steve Jobs and Jony Ive) said what has perhaps been obvious to many of us for some time: We are addicted to our digital devices. Among Fadell’s tweets: “…it’s up to us to act: Screen time rules, living in the moment, screen-free meals, relearning analog objects like books & writing & sketching, tech-free days for the family to be together.  (And yes it’s ironic I’m tweeting this…) 🙂” Ironic indeed, Tony, but better late than never.  Full article covering his tweetstorm here, as well as some positive, practical steps that we can implement to bring about balance in our lives outlined in an NPR piece here.  

Community-as-cure: Once we spend a little less time on our phones, what will we do? Here’s one answer from a remarkable piece by The Guardian’s always on-point George Monbiot that has been circulating widely the last couple of days: “It could, if the results stand up, be one of the most dramatic medical breakthroughs of recent decades. It could transform treatment regimes, save lives, and save health services a fortune. Is it a drug? A device? A surgical procedure? No, it’s a newfangled intervention called community. This week the results from a trial in the Somerset town of Frome are published informally…What this provisional data appears to show is that when isolated people who have health problems are supported by community groups and volunteers, the number of emergency admissions to hospital falls spectacularly. While across the whole of Somerset emergency hospital admissions rose by 29% during the three years of the study, in Frome they fell by 17%. Julian Abel, a consultant physician in palliative care and lead author of the draft paper, remarks: ‘No other interventions on record have reduced emergency admissions across a population.’The full piece can be read here.  Additional details about the project (called “Compassionate Frome”) can be seen here in the online edition of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine.

Riots in the street: Superstar comedian Chris Rock said in an interview a few years ago: “If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets. If the average person could see the Virgin Airlines first-class lounge, they’d go, ‘What? What? This is food, and it’s free, and they … what? Massage? Are you kidding me?’” Yesterday, the BBC re-published a piece that first appeared in The Conversation, titled, “How rich are the rich? If only you knew”. And for those of you who prefer to see a 30-minute video on the topic, this is a decent start.

Come on, Australia: I’m a proud Australian and love everything about this beautiful country, but it is ridiculous that it has taken us so long to recognize this basic fact: “Australia is one of only 15 nations (a list that also includes Canada and the United States) that does not recognise the human right to a healthy environment at the federal level. Last year, the Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law recommended that environmental democracy in Australia ‘must have as a foundation, respect for fundamental human rights and, in particular, an enforceable right to a clean and healthy environment.’” One of the most in-depth books on the topic (The Environmental Rights Revolution: A Global Study of Constitutions, Human Rights, and the Environment) was written by David Boyd, one of Canada’s leading environmental lawyers.

That’s it for the Friday Five. As always, if you have comment / reactions / a different point of view, please share below.

Cheers, and have a great week,

Your friend,


2018-02-26T04:05:42+00:00Blog|0 Comments