In this edition of Permaculture Around Latin America, we move north once more to learn about the strange but wonderful intersection between punk and permaculture. Take a look at this video titled ‘Permaculture Punks of Mexico City.’
I did some research and it looks like the Tierra Viva Collective is currently no longer active. This blog was the only thing I could find that linked to them, and they appear to have been active in the early 90s.
Regardless of this, there’s a lot to learn from these eco-punks. As a Latin American, I have seen trash and pollution comparable to what you see in the video. I sometimes get angry that so many people associate the ‘green’ movement with an elitist version that includes costly super foods grown in the third world, expensive practices and aesthetics, brands and luxuries. It’s very important to always be mindful that permaculture needs to take place in environments like what you see in the video. In places and setups like those, the results can be explosively positive. This video might be from the 90s, but the issues presented continue to be a real problem in most of Latin America. I believe that the intersections between permaculture and social work, anti-establishment, and anti-imperialism have a lot of un-explored potential.
As a young person of an eco-anarchist persuasion, it also makes me really happy and excited to see angry young people using their disquiet and questioning for such positive work. On top of that, punks and anarchists, “angry young people”, often fall into the category of ‘people who look, smell, and act strange’ and thus become marginalized. They are Latin@s. They are socially vulnerable.
Every day, I try to remind myself that the only kind of permaculture I can truly subscribe to is that which is for, by, and with marginalized people. Permaculture without social justice just doesn’t seem to make sense. Permaculture has helped, and continues to help and facilitate young people in “putting their anger towards something positive.” I long to see more ‘permacultured’ dismantling of toxic invisible structures and stereotypes.
Long live permapunk!