COVID-19 — PERMACULTURE RESPONSES
QUESTIONS for DISCUSSION on UNDERSTANDING & RESPONSES
USING PERMACULTURE PRINCIPLES
1) Observe & Interact – creatively interact with people and the planet
The 1st step is to observe and collect information on our time and place, given the spread of a very infectious but not that lethal virus.
What is happening, and what are the direct impacts of this coronavirus on people, government policy and businesses. Given the rapid (hard and fast) roll out of a ‘suppression’ lockdown approach, how are people responding, how effective and well thought out is the government response as we go through this lockdown? What is happening at a local community level, and where are there gaps in information and support?
What are the initial reactions and how diverse are they? How can we personally improve our access to information?
2) Recognise Patterns & Pulses – the patterns of natural processes and their pulse dynamic
The 2nd step is to use pattern recognition to provide a wholistic overview and an understanding of the particular system dynamics of this virus/lockdown bio-social ecosystem.
What can we foresee about the longer term implications of this ‘suppression’ lockdown approach and how people, governments and businesses are going to respond as the lockdown continues? (A ‘mitigation’ community empowerment approach would be very different in actions and consequences)
What are the likely longer term consequences, especially those that are not been recognised or thought about by governments or the financial/corporate elite? (From what we can tell.)
What are some likely changes in the patterns of responses?
Continue reading COVID-19 RESPONSES
PUBLIC INQUIRY into the EARTHQUAKE COMMISSION
SUBMISSION TO THE INQUIRY
I am a professional engineer practicing in the field of Natural Environment engineering, including the assessment and mitigation of natural hazards, mostly concerning flooding, erosion and land slipping. For the last 30 years I have worked as a consulting engineer on catchment and river management issues throughout New Zealand, including hazard assessment, design and construction of works, water and soil resource investigations, the evaluation of environmental effects and economic impacts, and the management of assets.
I am a Fellow of EngNZ for: “his role in designing flood management schemes that harmonise with the natural environment. He has led the development and dissemination of an approach based on working with nature by understanding natural behaviour and the form of waterways, and then adding channels or fairways that augment rather than modify the natural behavoiur.”
I also provide a permaculture design and advisory service, and facilitate and tutor permaculture courses and workshops. I initiated the forming of a permaculture emergency response team, and was part of a small team that responded to the Christchurch earthquakes by providing information and guidance on compost toilets as an option, given the damage and disfunction of the city sewerage system.
With my partner, we manage a small 50 hectare property, with a diverse range of farm and forest activities, following the practices and methods of organic and biodynamic agriculture.
My academic qualifications are: Bachelor of Engineering (Civil – Hons 1st), Bachelor of Science (Physics) and Master of Commerce (Economics – Hons 2nd).
Continue reading EQC INQUIRY
COMMUNITY DECISION-MAKING & FAIR SHARING — THE POWER OF MANY – TOGETHER
How can we share power equitably, making decisions as inter-dependent communities of people, with engagement and respect, and for our common interests?
The third of three pamphlets outlines a governance system that is socially equitable and mimics the natural systems of our world.
It starts with the following prologue:
Democracy means people power, or rule by the people for the people. But which of the people rule and for whose benefit?
In the large centralised nation states of our present world, where there is a form of democratic governance, it is one of a few people representing large electorates, who are easily influenced by lobbyists for the rich and socially powerful.
Where the social aims of these large states revolve around material consumption and comfort, and economic activity is controlled by private enterprises for ownership profits, politics becomes subservient to economics and the power of money and wealth or capital.
Social aims and economic activities are, though, defined and directed by laws, standards and regulations that are decided through governance structures and political processes.
Power can be taken by force of arms, intellectual prowess or emotional manipulation, but fundamentally it has to be given, however begrudgingly — orders have to be accepted. It does involve an imbalance, but the needs of all parties do have to be considered in some way to sustain the arrangement.
The tools of power may be superior weapons and extensive surveillance systems, but social power is a matter of belief and imagination. It depends on stories of origins and purpose, and ultimately words can be more powerful than guns.
This basis in imagination allows both great extremes of power and sudden radical alteration.
Can a participatory democracy, based around collaboration and cooperation for the common good, have a governance system that is socially resilient and allows large complex societies to be dynamically stable?
The present crisis of political economy can provide the opportunities, provided we have formed the seeds, to sprout vigorously in the social clearings.
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TO BE A PEOPLE OF OUR PLACE — WELL NOURISHED in BODY, MIND & SPIRIT
What is the character of our place and period, the conditions of our lives as human communities in the present age?
The first of three pamphlets sets the scene about our time and place, and its social conditions, trends and influences.
It starts with the following prologue:
If the water in a glass is half way, it is half full to an optimist and half empty to a pessimist. Or so they say.
But being a pessimist or an optimist is just a state of mind, and is irrelevant to the reality of the situation. When it comes to the crunch, what is important is being realistic.
Whether the level is half way is also not really the point. What matters more is whether the level is rising or falling. It is the direction or trend that is informative, with life being about change and processes not static states.
We live in the present, with the conditions of our time and place, but with imagination we can foresee trends and patterns of change. This allows us to be responsive and proactive, and thereby more capable and creative in the way we live our lives.
If we look at the ‘glasses’ of our time and place, many are reaching empty, while some are overflowing. There are severe imbalances, which have a very destructive potential. Life is all about exchange, and the continual cycling of energy and nutrients through all parts of the whole integrated system. Excessive accumulations and over consumption by some parts at the expense of others is distorting, and brings forth countervailing forces of destructive cleansing and re-balancing.
We respond to our excesses, or we are destroyed.
The present human population and its consumption is clearly an excessive burden on the world and life on planet Earth.
Where are the responses to this excess? Will people respond sufficiently, and say, “Enough.” Or will we suffer a destructive cleansing by the forces of the Earth, with a withdrawal of support from the ecosystems of life?
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