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My guest for this episode is the rewilder Peter Michael Bauer, from Portland, Oregon, who is also a trained permaculture practitioner who studied under Toby Hemenway.
Peter is the executive director of Rewild Portland, an environmental education non-profit that uses hands-on workshops and classes to teaches earth-based arts, skills, and technologies. He is also a regular contributor to rewild.com and the rewild.com facebook group.
During this conversation we talk about permaculture as a tool for rewilding, examine the impact of government and empire on our ability to take care of the earth and ourselves, discuss the meaning of civilization in the context of earth repair and permaculture, and our individual roles in creating useful change.
You can find out more about him and his current work at rewildportland.com. I would like to have Peter back on the show to continue this conversation and wrap up some thoughts that we touched on, but did not have the space to expand during this first conversation. If you have questions for him after listening to this show, let me know and I will include them in the follow-up we will have in a few months. You’ll also find a number of resources below.
I walk away from this conversation feeling that the act of practicing permaculture is the beginning of a life that is less civilized and a lot more wild. The more I have conversations with people like Peter, or Dan De Lion, or Ben Weiss and Wilson Alvarez, or read the work of authors like Derrick Jensen, the less and less I can sit back and be mild behind the microphone.
I don’t talk about my personal perspectives much, but these guests and their ideas spark that loud and boisterous side of myself as I grow tired and weary of the destruction and damage that is happening and want to see all of us pick up our tools and find out own salvation from this damaging culture that pushes us away from one another by telling us who to fear, why we can’t trust our neighbor, and must always be suspicious. We’re told to question science because it might tells us something we don’t like or can’t bring ourselves to accept because it conflicts with some preconceived world view. That because one of you is a republican and another is a democrat that those political leanings are so big that you can’t get along and realize that one’s guns and the other’s gays aren’t our problems, but are used as issues that drive a wedge between us and push us apart so those in power can stay there and dictate to us what is best, while serving their own self interest. That we are anesthetized with a news cycle of entertainment and shocking headlines. We are in the middle of ecological collapse and we’re told to spend our time worried about who is going to win some televised contest, or that a terrorist group thousands of miles away is going to come onto this soil and ruin our way of life when every day we listen to the people who are already ruining it for us. Those same people who tell us to be afraid and that we can’t change what’s happening anyway so should go back to our comfortable homes and turn up the heat if the winter is a little cold, or install a new air-conditioner if the summer’s seem hotter than normal, and ignore the droughts in California because the north-east got a record snow falls this year.
I’m tired. I’m tired of living in fear and listening to messages of scarcity. I’m tired of holding on to hope like it will make a difference, because it won’t. Action. Action will make a difference.
I love this world and each and every one of you so much that I want to see a place where we can all come together and live the best lives we can, in the world we want to see, even if we disagree over what that might look like, but to do it in a way that takes care of the earth, so we can have a home that we can live on indefinitely for ourselves and future generations. That we can take care of ourselves, and grow a little food to make sure we can eat and not go hungry, and to grow a little extra to feed our neighbor, regardless of what their religion, race, or creed might be.
That we can live, and love, and work together and give a damn about the difference we can make and tune out the messages that say we’re not enough, we are not good enough, that we can’t save the salmon, or reverse climate change, and that we should continue to trust in those who lie to us every day so that they can remain in power when we, each and every one of us, is powerful and capable of bringing about incredible change.
Rewild yourself and be free.
Whatever road you are on, I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. Things might change with the podcast, I don’t know yet, but whatever happens I will continue to make myself available to anyone and everyone I can help. Call me. 717-827-6266. or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have some surplus and you can throw a little something my way, I’d appreciate it, because this podcast is all that I do for a living right now. Learn more at www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/support or at www.patreon.com/permaculturepodcast
If you haven’t already you should join the Traveling Permaculture Library Project by emailing your name and address to Matt Winters, who is the new librarian for the project. You can reach him at:
By doing so you will receive a random book related to permacutlure, the natural world, or the environment. All I ask is that once you receive a book and read it, to email Matt back and pass it along. Each book includes a sticker in the front cover with more information to make this process easier. The next books I’ll be shipping off to Matt for the library are:
Greg Marley Chanterrel Dreams, Amanita Nightmares
Beattie, Thompson, and Levine Working with Your Woodland
Richard Mabey Weeds
Stephen Barstow Around the World in 80 Plants
Until the next time, spend each day creating a better world, the world you want to live in, but taking care of earth, your self, and each other.
Rewild.com Facebook Group
Wilderness Awareness School
Pacific Northwest Foraging by Douglas Deur
Keeping it Living by Douglas Deur and Nancy Turner
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn