In Episode 6 of the Social Permaculture Online Bootcamp, Ben Habib examines the permaculture ethics from the perspective of systems of power. Permaculture practice needs nourishing economic, social and cultural ground in which to take root, yet much of our society today is a desert in that respect. We need to incorporate an understanding of power into our social permaculture pattern literacy if we’re to turn that desert into a flourishing garden of Earth care, people care and fair share. To cultivate systems of power into our pattern literacy, Ben introduces an activity in which we develop a basic map of power relationships across different scales, and reflect on our ethical responsibilities to that knowledge.
Taking it further
A big thank you to my friend and permie colleague Monique Miller , with whom I’ve collaborated in developing this material for the CERES permaculture design course. Monique has appeared on the TV show Gardening Australia, and has completed a social permaculture course with Starhawk and Pandora Thomas in the US in 2019. I strongly recommend Starhawk’s voluminous work in permaculture and social justice, and especially encourage you to read the book featured in this video…
- Starhawk (1987). Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery. New York: HarperOne.
For more on the permaculture ethics, see these explainer videos from permaculture’s co-creator David Holmgren, and Andrew Millison from Oregon State University.
I also encourage you to join me in doing the power-within work (which is a lifelong project)…
- Kate Bornstein (1998). My gender workbook. New York: Routledge.
- Jill MacIntyre Witt (2017). Climate justice field manual. Climate Justice Now.
- Looby Macnamara (2012). People and Permaculture. Permanent Publications.
- Layla F. Saad (2018). Me and white supremacy workbook.
Further reading on power and justice in permaculture…
- Lucia Bardos (2018). “Towards a Socially Sustainable Permaculture — Some Practical Steps.” Medium.
- Stefani Cox (2015). “Social Justice and the Permaculture Movement: Where Do They Intersect?”
- Nicole Detraz (2009). “Environmental Security and Gender: Necessary Shifts in an Evolving Debate.” Security Studies. 18(2): 345-369.
- Heather Jo Flores (2018). “Decolonizing Permaculture: Bridging the gap between privilege and oppression.” Medium.
- People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit (1991). Principles of environmental justice.
- Bruce Pascoe (2014). Dark Emu. Broome: Magabala Books.
- Tobias Roberts (2017). “Permaculture as a Gringo Movement.” Huffington Post.
- Jesse Watson (2018). “Decolonizing permaculture.” Midcoast Permaculture.
Social Permaculture Online Bootcamp
With an emphasis on transmutation, Social Permaculture Online Bootcamp will explore issues, problems and anxieties associated with the COVID-19 crisis, and draw from insights from social permaculture and beyond to think about how we might respond.