6. Permaculture ethics and systems of power

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.

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5. Surfing the wave of complex inter-connection

In Episode 5 of the Social Permaculture Online Bootcamp, Ben Habib explores how we are nested in webs of relationships with each other and with all of life on Earth, through different intersecting ecological, social and economic systems. Ben also introduces social permaculture “sectors” as a pattern language to help us locate ourselves in relation to the different inter-connected systems that influence our lives.

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3. Subsistence needs and gift economies

In Episode 3 of the Social Permaculture Online Bootcamp, Ben Habib explores reclaiming more control over our subsistence through gift economies and the commons, as a compliment to food production. This video’s activity prompts participants to create a basic “gift circle” as an easily replicable model of community-level exchange to obtain some of the things we need, outside of money economy. The objective is not just to obtain more of what we need through networks of mutual aid, but also to lay the foundation of sharing and reciprocity needed for larger-scale alternative economic systems for the post-COVID19 recovery and post-carbon transition.

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2. Making the next decision

In Episode 2 of Social Permaculture Online Bootcamp, Ben Habib confronts the feeling of overwhelm that many are feeling in the COVID-19 moment. Ben looks to the acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) framework for guidance, and specifically to a recent article “FACE COVID” published by renowned psychotherapist Russ Harris. Ben likes this model to help get grounded so that we can put one foot in front of the other and make the next decision.

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The global permaculture movement as an engine for sustainability transitions

In this presentation at APSA 2019, Ben offers a critical exploration of permaculture as a design methodology, system of ethics, community of practice, and social movement, which function as a vehicle for sustainability transitions and practice of a materialist politics. He also encourages academics of environmental politics to reflect on the appropriate balance of research, sustainability practice and environmental activism demanded by the urgent predicament of global climate and ecological crisis.

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CERES Global in India—Day 08: Visioning Permaculture at Shikshantar

On day eight of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India, our group collaborated in a day of permaculture discussions and garden work with our friends at Shikshantar. In a co-creative process, the CERES Global group and members of the Shikshantar community learned about permaculture ethics and design principles, explored visions for the garden on the Shikshantar premises, and got our hands dirty working on innovations to bring the garden to life, building relationships and learning new things about ourselves and each other in the process. However, our yield from the day was not necessarily what we expected going in.

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CERES Global in India—Day 07: Learning from a Wise Man

It is not often one comes away absolutely mesmerised from talking to a person, but such was our experience on this day.  On day seven of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India, a small number of our group visited with Kishore Saint, a retired geographer and friend of Shikshantar.  Kishore-gi shared with us some of his life experiences living in Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom, reflected on insights into community he gained from interacting with tribal peoples in Rajasthan, and concluded with an exhortation for us to change the world by looking within ourselves.

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CERES Global in India—Day 06: Hidden Landscapes of Waste

On day six of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India we visited a municipal waste dump on the outskirts of Udaipur. Dump sites are always the dirty little secret of industrial development and commerce. They are the hidden landscapes of every city, a landscape so toxic and forbidding to life. In the Udaipur dump site, however, a community of “rag pickers” live and work in the mounds of refuse, earning a living from picking and selling recyclable materials from the waste piles.

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CERES Global in India—Day 05: Peasant Farming and Camel Culture

On day four of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India we visited a small-scale organic farm and a migrating camel caravan on our way back to Udaipur from Malari village. In these engagements our group learned more about traditional organic farming and animal husbandry methods, along with the unique cultures of our hosts. Their hospitality in sharing food and friendship was greatly appreciated, a model of gift culture in action.

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CERES Global in India—Day 04: Malari Village

On day four of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India we visited a village called Malari, 100 km north of Udaipur. In a day of fascinating interactions, we learned about the local dairy and herding economies, got some hands-on experience with local farming practices, enjoyed warm impromptu hospitality from our village hosts, and shared in a transcendental experience of dance and music.

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CERES Global in India—Day 03: Wisdom Walk through Udaipur’s Old City

On day three of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India, our guides from Shikshantar—Vishal, Manish and Nishtha—led us on a fascinating journey through the old city of Udaipur. The winding alleyways, bustling markets, colourful buildings and diverse people, are collectively woven together in a rich tapestry of stories and history. On foot is the best way to experience the richness of these stories and notice things you never would have time to see transiting via faster modes of transportation.

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CERES Global in India—Day 02: Shikshantar People’s Institute for Re-thinking Education and Development

On day two of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India we visited the Shikshantar People’s Institute for Re-thinking Education and Development. Shikshantar is an applied research institute dedicated to catalysing radical transformation of education. Shikshantar was founded as a jeevan andolan (life movement) to challenge the hierarchical, colonial culture of education.

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