Aid Projects, DVDs/Books — by Stephanie Blennerhassett March 30, 2013
As permaculture-, environmental-, or philanthropic-based tourism is becoming increasingly promoted by the media, I often feel like I am being sold an idea, experience, or even indulgence for my unsustainable lifestyle. If I want to have an ‘experience’, as a tourist, I want to be introduced to new thought patterns that challenge me to notice what I notice, such as how I have been trained to seek validation through institionalization. This provocation is what I believe is inherent to permaculture, and is why I find it tricky to adequately explain ‘permaculture’ to someone for the first time. Even defining permaculture can feel counter-intuitive and unsatisfying. Because permaculture can take time, skilled wordsmithing, and visual examples to explain, permaculture-theory is increasingly over simplified, redundant, or sensationalized when adopted by the mainstream media, especially in film. Often, when watching a permaculture film, I find myself feeling as if like I have seen it already. However, One Day, Everything Will Be Free, a feature-length permaculture documentary about Sadhana Forest Haiti, released in Spring 2013, is different.Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Food Forests, Food Shortages, Irrigation, Land, Rehabilitation, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Swales, Village Development, Water Harvesting — by Stephanie Blennerhassett October 31, 2012
PDCs are tricky. For two weeks we tumble into this community of unfamiliarly familiar, curious strangers. The constant whirlwind of habits, obligations, and distractions that composes our lives momentarily dissipates and we are thrust into this world where our main responsibility is to be open-minded, observe, think, learn, and connect. Yet, at the end of the day, we are singular beings and we all have our lives that we will return to. As PDC participants, we are exposed to this new paradigm together, share bemusement at fractal patterns and individual inspirations, and then suddenly depart the entropy we fell into and hopefully go off with the intent to use permaculture as a framework for making society and the environment more resilient.
However, after I was formally introduced to permaculture, as a nomadic recent college graduate, I was not sure how permaculture could be a tangible part of my life. The fulfillment from a sense of belonging and purpose I experienced during the PDC instilled within me a restless need to contribute to a project and/or community. So, I found myself asking, “Now what?”.Comments (4)
Aid Projects, Development & Property Trusts, Education, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Stephanie Blennerhassett June 28, 2012
Sri Lankan tea plantation worker
Photograph © copyright Craig Mackintosh
For the past year, I have been circumnavigating the world as a curious observer, student, and wwoofer. After undergraduate studies, I wanted to balance the Darwinian culture of academia with a paradigm that encouraged humility and knowledge sharing within a global civil society. I took my first PDC at Occidental Arts and Ecology in California and continued on to Strawberry Fields Eco-lodge in Ethiopia (PDC with Rhamis Kent), the PRI of Australia (soil biology and aid worker course), Thailand (interned at Rak Tamachat and studied with Sangob, Fair Earth Farm, Pun Pun, and Tacomepai), and returned back to Quail Springs Permaculture in California (natural building apprenticeship and an International Development Professionals PDC).
As giving and receiving are one in the same, I want to give back to the permaculture movement by suggesting how permaculture can improve its theoretical diversity in order to be transparent and accountable to its tenet of fair share. Although the permaculture movement has inspired me, I am still grappling with its legitimacy within the world order. To promote the agency of its students and nurture the development of a global civil society, PDC curricula needs to increase its diversity.Comments (4)