For decades the Green movement has engaged in a variety of political strategies and protests to get its voice heard with a long term view of provoking our Political leaders into action to create legislation to protect the environment. During that time two things have occurred, firstly, our Political leaders have done very little and have allowed companies to pollute and exploit our natural resources at an ever more alarming rate whilst introducing token household recycling to collect the wasteful packaging from supermarkets, secondly Permaculture has gained a huge momentum and is now a global movement that is actively engaging in restoring eco systems and adding increased fertility to the areas in which it works whilst creating and strengthening communities everywhere it touches.
Permaculture and Political activism
People have seen in permaculture the potential to create an abundant and ecologically sound future where we look after each other, the planet, and ensure that resources are shared out, not only have they seen the potential but many are actually applying it and living in communities, intentional or otherwise where permaculture informs it and real ecological and community development is occurring. Up to now, no single Political model offers what Permaculture is capable of delivering in terms of a better life for all of the inhabitants of the planet, so with this in mind we have to ask ourselves now that we have found a solution is where does Politics fits in with all of this? and what we think about Politics now that we have something as dynamic and workable as Permaculture:
- Do we still align ourselves with mainstream parties?
- Do we look at how Permaculture’s ethics and ideas could help to develop a new politic?
- Do we garden with one hand and protest with the other?
I believe that the answer is yes to all of the above, if we don’t engage in voting for our Green Parties in national and local elections you can guarantee that Neoliberals will take their place, we should also look at how permaculture helps to guide, as opposed to govern our affairs, and we should continue with our individual or group permaculture projects whilst protesting against the ruinous vampire of Capitalism, its paymasters the Banking sector and its Neoliberal political leaders that act as caretakers and fixers for the all consuming market. If we do not engage in fighting against consumer capitalism, economic growth and built in obsolescence it will continue to use up resources frivolously, enslave entire populations through debt and poverty wages, and will ravage and extract the remainder of nature in the name of profit. Permaculture alone, unless every single human being on the planet where practicing and living it, will not stop the dominant political and commercial interests that perpetuate capitalism and Neoliberalism, it is worth considering Bill Mollisons words in the Occupy Permaculture video at the end of this piece.
What would a politics of permaculture look like?
I am not advocating that we develop a politics based on permaculture, this may or may nor happen in the future, but it interests me that its ethics and princples are universal, and are the most workable solution that we have to deal with our current crises in terms of developing an ever lasting and long term climb towards an ecologically sound and fair future, this compared to the models that we have had in the past warrants looking into a little further, after all, its all about ideas and practices, all of which can be changed.
The ethics of permaculture would be the underpinning of any political model application of permaculture, by using existing political themes we can glimpse what a possible Political permaculture might look like, its Earth Care ethic would resemble social ecology and the breaking down of mans dominance of nature, its people care ethic would be represented by strong communities and its fair share ethic would come from socialism and common ownership. If our communities and resources of the future are run locally by members of that particular community, then this would come from the Anarchist tradition of mutual associations and federations.
Permaculture and Politics in the future
There is no doubt that permaculture and its robust universal ethics and guiding principles will have some influence in the politics of the future. Whether permaculture is the Politics of the future, or something that informs and molds the politics of the future, one thing is certain for the times we are living in and in lineal way in which we manage our affairs cannot continue, permaculture offers us an all encompassing solution that for the times that we live in and a possible future.