The Permaculture Podcast

    Episode 1428: Susquehanna Permaculture Round Table (Part 1)


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    The saying on Seppi’s Wall, which he refers to in his introduction to the discussion.

    This is part one from the first of the Susquehanna Permaculture Round discussion. Recorded in front of a live audience, the panelists were:

    The topics for this first round included:

    • What is Permaculture to you?
    • Environmental problems as human issues.
    • Permaculture and spiritual traditions.
    • Engaging social and political systems.

    After these, we took a break, and pick up with a series of audience questions, intermixed with questions that came in via Facebook from podcast listeners. Join us again in part 2 to be released in a few weeks.

    When you’ve finished listeningif you would like to learn more from Rafiyqa’s many years as a civic leader in Harrisburg active in engaging communities and local politics, so that you can do the same, she made her information available.

    Rafiyqa Muhammad:

    Phone: 717-343-6881

    Ben Weiss is also available:


    Would you like to see more pictures from the event?  You’ll find them on the Facebook page for the show.


    And anytime you’d like to reach out to me, I’m here:

    Phone: 717-827-6266
    Twitter: @permaculturecst

    Postal Mail:

    The Permaculture Podcast
    P.O. Box 16
    Dauphin, PA 17018

    (Episode: Rt1)

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    1. April 1, 2014    

      another great show! I enjoyed the panel discussion format very much and I look forward to more of these. In your lead-in to one of the questions you used the phrase “permanent civilization.” I have heard you use this on a few other occasions too, stating that this is the aim of permaculture. Sorry if this seems like semantic nit-picking but I feel it is important not to confuse civilization with culture. They are not synonymous. There have been many cultures that have not developed into civilizations. Importantly it is non-civilizational cultures that have a track record of stability and sustainability while civilizations come and go because they are unsustainable. Many would say because they are inherently unsustainable. Permaculture = permanent (sustainable) culture. Whether there can be any such thing as a permanent civilization is very much up for debate.
      For two well reasoned critiques of civilization from people widely known within the permaculture world see Toby Hemenway’s talk “How Permaculutre Can Save Humanity and the Earth, But Not Civilization”
      and Richard Heinberg’s essay “The Primitivist Critique of Civilization”.

      Thanks again for all the great work!

      • April 1, 2014    

        Hello Dion,

        This is a semantics issue. When I use the word “civilization,” the meaning is derived from the social sciences and characteristics of civilization: the use of agriculture, literacy, settlement patterns, governance, etc. Given that the portmanteau of permaculture is derived from permanent and agriculture, the progression to a conversation about permanent civilization and recognizing the goals of permaculture as such doesn’t stretch the boundaries too far.

    2. April 2, 2014    

      thanks for your response. It seems to me though that this is not an issue of semantics after all. For we are using the word civilization in the same sense. What I am suggesting (as do the links I posted) is that civilization (agriculture, dense human settlement patterns and government) are impediments to sustainable culture. (More, they are the agents that continue to destroy sustainable cultures where they still exist).
      It is true that in Permaculture One the word permaculture was offered as a contraction of “permanent agriculture.” However, permaculture is continuously developing and the word is now widely understood to mean permanent culture. Many permaculturalists have openly challenged the notion that there can be such a thing as sustainable agriculture. I have never in my reading come across anyone claiming permaculture to mean permanent civilization. Though there are many people like myself who would say that it is a contradiction in terms. Just look at the track record.

    3. […] are some of the other round–table discussions from the podcast: Susquehanna Permaculture round table 1 Susquehanna Permaculture round table 2 Riverside Project round table 1 Riverside Project round […]

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