The Politics of Permaculture and a shift in the wind.

Here on the eve of the North American Permaculture Convergence I cannot help but take a minute to talk about the politics of this great idea called Permaculture.

Given the timing of this article I will begin with the convergence itself.

At first blush, I thought it was a great idea…I mean like every other conference, what but good can come from huge numbers of Permaculture folks gathering up and getting their heads together.

Then I thought about it. I had some questions. I am going to share them with you and let you come up with your own answers.

How many fuel miles are being used for this event? To what end?

How are all of these farmers able to take 5 days off (assuming one day of travel each way, some are more like a full week or more), right as harvest time is getting into full swing?

Do any of them actually grow anything?

Is the purpose of Permaculture gathering up and talking about what we would like other people to do?

Have any of the regional leaders hosted or supported smaller local gatherings that could be useful?

And it just kept going in my head…I will spare you the lengthier list or the arguments that ensued between the various factions that make up my brain.

Suffice it to say, I decided against going.

In fact, more and more I am deciding against continuing to engage the Permaculture community as a whole. Not as a rejection of Permaculture, but as a rejection of all of the ridiculous politics and negativity in the community. It just isn’t that important to me that I am part of their game. I can do the work I want and need to do without it, and in fact I think that as I separate myself I think my workflow will improve. For my real work anyway.

Which leads to another decision I have come to. While I do not think I will completely abandon the web site or podcast… the podcast is no longer going to be a weekly show, and will probably succumb to the phenomenon known as pod fade by mid spring of 2015.

While the politics and divisiveness in the movement sealed the deal on this decision (I wont bore you with the most recent social media “conversation”, suffice it to say it left yet another bad taste in my mouth), they were not the motivating factor that started this train of thought. No, it began as a quick view of why I was having so much trouble getting things done, and why my motivation was dropping off so much of late. The answer turned out to be just as simple as you would think.

Time. It is a commodity that is always in short supply and it should be managed as a commodity. In this case I needed to weigh the use of about 8 hours per week to produce one 40 minute to one hour podcast, plus the negligible amount of time I spend on other site updates against the return received from that use of time.

On one hand the podcast has been well received and if just one more person “gets it” because of my work, then I am victorious.

On the other hand it will not enable me to transition away from working at my full time job, and I am responsible to my family….plus I have my yard projects and I am making preparations to embark in a sizeable Permaculture designed beyond organic urban farm project. I do not imagine I will have time to spare as this develops.

Given those points I am going to dramatically lower the pace of the website and podcast to focus on my “real world” work. The pundits, blowhards, and politicians in the movement can do their thing without me.

Go grow something.


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