As I was reminded of in a recent conversation with Emma Huvos, we protect what we love. As the ethics of permaculture call for us to care for Earth and people, then practicing permaculture can be a political act requiring activism.
In this conversation facilitated by guest host David Bilbrey, John Seed shares his work of nearly 40 years to preserve landscapes all over the world, beginning first in New South Wales, Australia to save rainforests. He and others in those early days created the many direct actions now used by activists and protestors all around the world including tree sitting or chaining oneself to industrial equipment.
From there he moves to his current work with the Rainforest Information Centre and the Los Cedros Reserve to save the rainforests of Ecuador.
Given all the names and organizations John mentioned you’ll find a number of additional links in the resource section below, including to the Save Los Cedros petition so you can get involved.
I posted a question on the Facebook page for the show back in early November asking
“Should permaculturists get involved in politics?”
And received a number of responses that ranged from, “Politics and permaculture = incompatible” to “Absolutely. Everyone should get involved in politics. If we leave it only to those who are attracted to it, we get exactly the current situation.”
My own personal perspective and why I was interested in David’s interview with John rests closer to that second answer: we should all be involved in politics and action. As a permaculture practitioner, my focus continues to be on the philosophical underpinnings of this holistic systems-thinking approach paired with the social, economic, and, yes, political change we can create through intentional design.
Though I see the world through this lens of political and social work, I also understand that we should engage in the activities we are called to. We only have so much time in our lives to work on the issues that matter to us.
If you have a limited interest in politics but live in a democratic society with elections, vote. If you want to go a step further and help preserve rainforests, get involved with the Rainforest Information Centre. If you feel working on, or in, politics holds the most possibility for you to affect change, become a lawyer, run for office, or work to enact policy changes at your municipal, state, province, national, or the international level.
One one of the things I love most about permaculture is the breadth of possibilities available to us. Use your knowledge and ability to create the world you want to live in.
While you’re doing that, know that there are tens of thousands of others doing the same thing, in their own way, alongside you.
If there is any way I can help connect you to the resources you need, answer your question, or help you get involved, email, call or write.
The Permaculture Podcast
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018
From here, the next episode is an interview with Maddy Harland, the editor of Permaculture Magazine, to discuss her new book Fertile Edges, and look at her more than 25 years in the center of the permaculture community.
Until then, take care of Earth, yourself, and each other.
Save the Los Cedros Reserve Petition
Los Cedros Reserve (Reserva Los Cedros) / Jose DeCoux
Rainforest Information Centre
Rainforest Action Network
Earth First! Worldwide
Earth First! Journal
Dave Foreman (Wiki)
Mike Roselle (Wiki)
Randy Hayes (Foundation Earth biography)
Friends of the Earth
Gary Snyder (Poetry Foundation)
AusAID – Australia’s Aid Program
Work That Reconnects Network – Joanna Macy