This article was originally published in Pip Magazine, Issue 4, September 2015.
The permaculture movement appears to have reached a crossroads. As a holistic design system based on systems thinking, ecological principles and energy literacy, permaculture has the potential to have a transformative impact on how we sustainably operate our social, economic and agricultural systems in a period of converging global crises. At the 2013 International Permaculture Convergence in Cuba, it was formally recognised that the permaculture movement worldwide would benefit from greater coherence at an international level in order to follow through on this transformative promise.
The Permaculture’s Next Big Step project was formed to facilitate a global consultation on what we need, how we can work together, and what we can achieve. This project has brought together some of the most thoughtful permaculture thinkers from around the world to explore potential pathways for further international coordination across the permaculture movement. Project participants include Andy Goldring from the Permaculture Association UK, Andrew Langford from Gaia University, American activist and author Starhawk, and Australia’s own permaculture elders Robin Clayfield, Ian Lillington and April Sampson-Kelly, among many other talented individuals.
The purpose of the work being undertaken through Permaculture’s Next Big Step is to gauge what permaculturalists want and need from a global entity (if anything), and do the ground work to get buy-in for greater coordination from across the world-wide permaculture movement. Our task is to formulate proposals for a more cohesive global permaculture movement that facilitates linkages, education opportunities and resources sharing across the movement while the preserving local autonomy that is integral to permaculture design.
At the 2015 Australasian Permaculture Convergence in Tasmania I led a participatory workshop to solicit responses from convergence participants on the Permaculture’s Next Big Step project. The workshop explored the evolution of the project and reflected on how the traditionally diffuse horizontal organisation of the permaculture movement could be married with the benefits of scale that might come from greater international coordination. Our presentation and workshop at APC12 were designed to raise awareness of two online surveys, which are our primary mechanism for assessing your needs as permaculture practitioners, gauging your enthusiasm for greater international coordination and to solicit your input on what this enhanced cooperation might look like.
You can complete the survey as both an individual permaculture practitioner and/or as a representative of a permaculture organisation.
Survey for individuals: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/?sm=3UAtnvsgbfK8tPbBjgzyqWf3pXaHflvCDdPmWO6cQYk%3d
Survey for organisations: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/269NLJW
The results of these surveys will be presented at the International Permaculture Convergence in September 2015, where proposals for further action will be workshopped and submitted for approval. Please circulate the survey URLs across your networks; the more people who complete the surveys, the more representative the outputs of the PNBS project will be and the higher the quality of the proposals that are put forward for action.
Your input is greatly appreciated and will go a long way to improving the outputs of the project. With your help, the Permaculture’s Next Big Step project can expand the positive transformative impact of permaculture around the world.