Hi, this is Geoff.

100 Friday Fives!

1-0-0 (!!!)

When we started these more than 2 years ago, the goal was to curate for members of our community items of interest related to permaculture. Putting together 100 of these (or even just 10!) seemed impossibly far away.

But more than 2 years later, here we are…

I want to pause and take a moment to thank each of you for trusting me with your time. There are so many different ways that we can spend the precious hours we have on this Earth; you choosing to spend 5 minutes with me a few times each month is a trust that I take seriously, and is something for which I’m deeply grateful. I remain committed to helping make these moments we have together insightful and helpful — an investment of your time that I hope will pay limitless dividends in your future permaculture work.

And please remember that the Friday Five is intended to be a conversation spark, not an announcement. If you ever have a different opinion, unique insight, or something else that you’d like to share, please head over to the comments below, and let your voice be heard! Every so often, I personally read through all of the comments there, and always learn from the thoughtful observations that you and others in our community share.

Again, thank you!

Without further ado…

Tech vs. nature: The relationship between technology and nature is often painted as being adversarial. Those interested in living a full, healthy, and grounded life caution against knee-jerk, wholesale adoption of “new for the sake of new.” Here is a fascinating piece by Cal Newport that details some of his thoughts alongside those of Wired magazine’s Kevin Kelly as they reflect on a unique approach taken by the Amish community whenever they consider adopting new technologies. Although Kelly’s position may strike some readers as surprising given his relationship with Wired magazine, what may be equally surprising is Newport’s belief that the position of the Amish isn’t as impossible as it first seems.

… Or is it tech *and* nature: On the flip side are those who approach the question of technology from a position of optimism rather than cautious skepticism. Even if we consider *only* permaculture-related activities, consider: This Friday Five is being written on a computer and being read on your phone / laptop screen; we use big, earth-moving machinery in order to establish dams, swales, terraces, and access roads; and we use the internet and related technologies to educate thousands of people about permaculture online — far, far more than we could ever fit in a traditional classroom. Those who identify closer to this type of thinking will love this article published earlier this month: How Technology Can Repair Our Broken Connection With Nature. It begins with this observation, “the average human being can identify 430 corporate logos but can’t differentiate five different plants by looking at their leaves,” and then proceeds to detail how one company, Marshmallow Laser Feast, is using virtual reality and extended reality (a combination of real and virtual environments) to — among other things — help people see nature through the eyes of four different animals and insects.

New Video — Revolutionary Irrigation System: Speaking of technology…water is scarce and seems to be getting scarcer. While the problem needs to be addressed at a global level, there are things we can do at a local (even individual) level. In this new video, in less than 3 minutes, I outline an old-but-new way to irrigate one square meter (or one fruit tree) using nothing more than an unglazed clay pot. To see how, check it out inside The Permaculture Circle (TPC). As always, if you’re already enrolled in our free TPC learning community, you can view the full presentation here. And if you are not a member of TPC, you can quickly become one for free here), and immediately gain access to the new video as well as 100+ other videos and media resources.

Minimalism: The above posts are long, so we’ll keep this one short and sweet: Sometimes the best way to imagine differently is to actually see something familiar being done differently. This gallery, 32 Photos That Show How Obsessed Japan Is With Minimalism, provides that type of experience. Enjoy!

In case you missed it: A few pieces of interest this week from our sister site, the non-profit Permaculture Research Institute:

If you enjoy these posts, be sure to bookmark the site as several new articles go up weekly, or check out thousands of other past articles, here.  

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

Cheers, and have a great week,

Your friend,


PS: Three quick points:

  1. Tech versus / and nature: Where do you stand on the issues mentioned above? Share your thoughts in the blog version of this Friday Five.
  2. Deadline! £25,000 in Prizes: One week left to submit your entry for The Permaculture Magazine Prize. Full details can be found here, and the entry form can be found here. Thank you Maddy and Tim for helping to take permaculture work to the next level!
  3. Earthworks Course: As I mentioned last week, once a year my good friend and expert excavator, Glenn Armstrong, helps me co-teach an extensive 2-week Earthworks course. It starts at the end of July, and due to the very hands-on nature of the course, has a fixed enrollment limit. If interested, you may want to consider applying here ASAP. And if the timing isn’t right, but you are still interested in coming out to the farm for a face-to-face PDC, farm tour, or the Permaculture-in-Action hands-on experience, feel free to check out the remaining 2018 dates here.