Respected permaculture folk who think David Holmgren co-founded permaculture

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by Rob Jones, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. Rob Jones

    Rob Jones Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    A list of links from permaculturists that recognize David's role follows a couple of pages down but first some context.

    As many of you may be aware, Craig and Geoff have recently launched a Q&A video series on this site (i.e., PRI Australia). No doubt it will be a useful addition to a website which already has so many valuable resources. Given my appreciation of the work of both Craig and Geoff, and of their readiness to share their knowledge, I regret that I must now, of necessity, offer some criticisms. My concerns are about Geoff’s response to the first question on the first Q&A video. The question, submitted by “Matto”, was as follows:
    My question to Geoff Lawton would be why is David Holmgren not credited to being a co-founder of Permaculture in his video, Introduction to Permaculture, as well as not being credited on the PRI site introduction.
    This is not a clerical oversight, and I know that Bill has slowly excluded David out of his stories of where he got the "vision" of permaculture, even though Permaculture One was based largely David's thesis and research from 1976.


    Geoff’s answer defended, on various grounds, his view, as expressed in his latest video “How to Survive the Coming Crises” and on this PRI Australia website, that Bill Mollison alone founded permaculture.

    I should make it clear, before I say anything further, that I am not writing this as a friend or supporter of David Holmgren. I met David at a PDC that I did at the Food Forest in 2011. I had several conversations with him over the course of the PDC. I found him to be a likeable person, who had a broad range of challenging ideas and an impressive depth of knowledge; and he expressed his opinions through nuanced, measured, arguments. But even if I had found David to be an unlikable and uninteresting person I would still be writing what follows because my motivation is simply to reassert broadly acknowledged facts about the history of permaculture.

    I ask myself: How can I, and so many of my friends, have been labouring under a delusion FOR THE PAST 34 YEARS that permaculture was developed JOINTLY by Bill and David?

    [I will discuss Geoff’s definition of the “permaculture movement” as an entity distinct from, and more significant than, the permaculture design system, in a subsequent post.]

    I first heard about permaculture on Terry Lane’s show on ABC local radio, Melbourne, in the late 1970’s. I remember that there was an instant buzz about Bill and David’s revolutionary new system because it offered significant hope that we could turn away from the path of environmental destruction by designing highly productive ecosystems into the fabric of our everyday lives. You might say the birth of a “movement” was in the air, and indeed, Permaculture Nambour was already established in Queensland two or three years before I first heard about permaculture in 1978-9. All this happened just at the beginning of what became, for me, many years of intense involvement in environmental campaigns. Permaculture held particular significance for environmentalists of that time. In Australia, the campaigns for nature conservation and wilderness preservation had strong Tasmanian roots stemming from the Lake Pedder and Franklin Dam campaigns. Permaculture shared these Tasmanian roots, and so, many people involved in these environmental campaigns did permaculture courses and/or embraced permaculture’s evolving ethics. As a consequence, permaculture was often discussed as part of the way we saw our future, and very many of us around Australia have—rusted-in to our formative years—an indelible memory of the genesis of permaculture with Bill and David, in Tasmania, in a special time that also spawned our most distressing failures, our most cherished successes, and other environmental landmarks; like the founding of the world’s first Green Party (the UTG) and the establishment of some of Australia’s first organic farming networks. This is important history, not just for those who experienced it, but also for those who wish to understand the patterns of social forces that can lead a community toward a future of environmental stewardship—this history should not be messed with.

    As a reality check on the foregoing personal perspective I asked myself: Who else thinks permaculture was co-developed by Bill AND David? A quick survey of the Web yielded the following results:
    1. The editor of PRI Australia (presumably it was Craig at the time) on this very website introduced an article from Bill Mollison titled “Desert Ways”, dated 19 Nov 2008, and used the following words: “Permaculture co-founder Bill Mollison has spent time in many of the world’s arid regions and here shares his observations on surviving in some of them.” see:
    http://permaculturenews.org/2008/11/19/desert-ways/#more-882

    2. Later on in Geoff’s Q&A video #1 responses he mentioned Darren Doherty as one of the people whose work in permaculture/land use he admires. In March 2009, again in an article on this website, Darren referred to Bill as the “Permaculture co-originator” see:
    http://permaculturenews.org/2009/03/16/keyline-design-mark-iv/#more-1177

    3. In October 2009, again in an article on this website, Jill Ross, from PRI USA referred to Bill as “Permaculture co-founder” see:
    http://permaculturenews.org/2009/10/25/got-water/

    4. In September 2010, again in an article on this website from “Ecofilms” (from the 2010 Permaculture Convergence), Bill was again referred to as “the co-founder of Permaculture” see:
    http://permaculturenews.org/category/events-resources-news/social-gatherings/page/5/

    5. Robin Francis refers to Bill as the “co-founder of permaculture” on her website see:
    http://permaculture.com.au/online/articles/what-is-permaculture

    6. Permaculture Australia state that: “Bill Mollison and David Holmgren created the Permaculture design system in the late 1970s while living in Hobart, Tasmania.” see:
    http://permacultureaustralia.org.au/permaculture-the-beginnings/
    This is followed by brief, equally prominent summaries of their contributions.

    7. The evergreen US website “Permaculture Activist” states: “The word "permaculture" was coined and popularized in the mid 70's by David Holmgren, a young Australian ecologist, and his associate / professor, Bill Mollison.” They go on to give an extensive profile of both David and Bill and list their contrasting but largely compatible sets of “permaculture principles” from their later independent work, see:
    http://permacultureactivist.net/intro/PcIntro.htm#History

    8. Graham and Annemarie Brookman of the Food Forest, South Australia, see:
    http://www.foodforest.com.au/permaculture design certificate 09.html
    state the following:
    David Holmgren co-originator of the concept of permaculture, will be presenting during the first part of the course. …In 2003 David published “Permaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability”, a book which is the first significant development on the permaculture concept since Bill Mollison’s “Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual” which was published in 1988. David’s teaching expounds permaculture for this millenium, freed of the necessity to justify some of the now publicly accepted environmental concepts which occupied so much time in the traditional course.
    The Brookman’s did their PDC with Bill many years ago, and they (and David) readily acknowledge the impetus that came from Bill’s decision to start teaching permaculture, and eventually the PDCs, as early as he did. However they regard David as an outstanding teacher too and have a longstanding association with him as a presenter of their PDC’s. Furthermore, their assessment of the significance of David’s book “Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability” is, in my experience, a commonly held view which illustrates that permaculture is progressing along many paths—and not everyone is following in Bill’s footsteps.

    My intended message is too long and so I will have to conclude this thread opener in my next post; please stay tuned.
     
  2. Rob Jones

    Rob Jones Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Geoff’s justification for his belief that permaculture was founded by Bill alone is mainly based on his definition of the “permaculture movement” and his contention that this movement is more significant than the design system itself. As I have said, I will examine this view in a future post but an appreciation of one of my chief objections can be found in the following history of the permaculture movement:
    http://pacific-edge.info/2007/07/a-short-and-incomplete-history-of-permaculture/

    It is an article that was published in the New Internationalist magazine in 2007 and was written by Steve Payne, editor of ABC Organic Gardener magazine (who was also a former editor of the Permaculture International Journal), and Russ Grayson, a permaculture educator and writer who is particularly familiar with permaculture’s origins in Tasmania. I challenge anyone to read that history and not see a significant contribution from both Bill and David in every phase of both the design system and the “movement”. And importantly, there were also a host of other influential people, such as Max Lindegger of Permaculture Nambour, who were there almost from the very beginning. All those pioneers TOGETHER made that “buzz” that came over the radio in the late 70s; the buzz of the promise of a future fundamentally changed; the reassurance of knowing that while we went out to fight (and mostly win) those desperate rear-guard campaigns to protect the biosphere (as with the Franklin Dam campaign), we could hope to return to cities, towns, and farms, that were in transition to a future that was reconnected to that biosphere. That buzz has never stopped and permaculture continues to gather new pioneers at every step of the way. Steve Payne and Russ Grayson’s article faithfully reflects that process and the many different paths that the people of permaculture travelled over the ensuing 30 years. They closed the article, under the heading “Permaculture’s Future” as follows:

    Rosemary Morrow describes how she sees the future of the design system in an upcoming book of biographies of people with a history in permaculture.

    “I view permaculture today as still a prototype. It is barely thirty years old and continues to grow and stretch out into people’s lives and take forms of its own, especially if we think how David Holmgren has stretched the parameters.

    “I remember Mollison saying to me ‘permaculture is about tangibles.’ Today I see the tangibles embedded in intangibles… the conversations, the solitude, the insights, reflections and feedback and new findings in every part of the Permaculture syllabus
    ”. ”

    The broadly acknowledged history of permaculture rightly reserves an honoured place for Bill Mollison as its co-founder. Trying to embellish that honour by denying the long-accepted contribution of its other co-founder, David Holmgren, can only diminish the esteem in which Bill is held. That would be a great pity both for Bill and the permaculture movement.
     
  3. matto

    matto Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    16
    G'day Rob,

    I attended the Central Victoria PDC with David, among others, and went on to spend time with friends of David as I began absorbing permaculture on the ground.

    It really is the two personalities that we can thank for how permaculture has evolved to today. David himself said that without Bill, the manuscript for Permaculture One would be sitting in the bottom of a drawer somewhere. And I believe without David, the manuscript wouldn't have been written at all. And so its this direction that Geoff is taking in the history of permaculture. Why Bill has been at times publicly nasty towards David is another thing all together... alot of the pioneers and game changers tend to have this polarising personality, Bill, Peter Andrews, Sepp Holzer, Paul Watson to name a few.

    It was the serendipitous meeting of the two that really cemented the answers they had been missing, Davids more practical applications of some aspects, and Bills collating of information. Its my impression Reny Mia Slay took over alot of the writing and editing for the following permaculture books. But we can see from Davids collection of writing that he had an authoritive view on where he sees permaculture heading and has thrown out a wider net to include most facets of community.

    I still believe its petty on Geoffs part, to not include Davids involvement at all, regardless of the intricacies of intentions and convaluted meanings. What is important is for permaculture to remain fluid and up to date and ready to meet head on, all the challenges we are facing. Perhaps an new edition of the designers manual will be a good start...
     
  4. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Messages:
    2,215
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    I love David's work. I love Geoff's work. I love Bill's work.

    I love the work all you guys are doing.

    I think it's sad that we have to have this discussion

    I would say that David's work has had the most profound effect on my life. The work of Bill and Geoff and so many others have really helped me in the process of putting those profound internal changes into action. I'm not saying David's work is any less nutritious physically, but it is more nutritious spiritually and mentally.

    Some folks are more mind, some more body and some more spirit. The combination of all of them are what makes Permaculture a whole for me. I thank them all for the roles they have played in my evolution.

    WE know David's role and thank him for it.

    Some of the greatest inventions are nothing without innovation. Innovations are based on invention...

    When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad.

    Being and non-being create each other.
    Difficult and easy support each other.
    Long and short define each other.
    High and low depend on each other.
    Before and after follow each other.

    Therefore the Master
    acts without doing anything
    and teaches without saying anything.
    Things arise and she lets them come;
    things disappear and she lets them go.
    She has but doesn't possess,
    acts but doesn't expect.
    When her work is done, she forgets it.
    That is why it lasts forever.
     
  5. matto

    matto Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Grahame is so zen! and bang on with this post... hugs:)
     
  6. mouseinthehouse

    mouseinthehouse Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    Messages:
    782
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I agree! Thanks for your post Grahame - says it all for me! :)
     
  7. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    2,978
    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    38

    I totally concur. :bow:

    This is not what I expected reading on PRI this morning.

    It is also my understanding that Geoff & Bill founded PRI without Mr. Holmgren, thus this whole thread is a lil odd to me.
     
  8. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    2,978
    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Why does it need one?
     
  9. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,931
    Likes Received:
    161
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    E Washington, USA
    Climate:
    Semi-Arid Shrub Steppe (BsK)
  10. Rob Jones

    Rob Jones Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I too, agree with Grahame’s post above: It IS sad that we have to have this discussion. Personally I was happy with the broadly accepted history of permaculture: please note that the links in my opening posts testify to the validity of that history. I wish that I did not have to respond to Geoff’s push to rewrite that history. And as I said in my opening post, I too, greatly appreciate the work of both Bill and David, and also the host of permaculture’s subsequent pioneers like Max Lindegger, Robin Francis, Geoff, Craig, and so many others. The last thing I want to do is pelt rocks at Geoff Lawton who is doing very important work but he is clearly the only person who can stop what he has started.

    Geoff said, toward the end of his response to Matto’s question on Q&A#1, words to the effect that he is not interested in having a “debate on” who did what, when, between Bill and David during the initial development of permaculture because he wasn’t there in 1974-78 when all those events happened. While I do not want to detract from Geoff’s important work, nor distract him doing it, he really needs to understand that this debate, the one that he says he does not want get involved in, is a debate that he himself has initiated. And when you are a very high profile person, with influence over a key permaculture website (this one) and a prominent permaculture institution, PRI Australia; and every day, through the content on this website you are arguing, loudly, for a contentious change to the core of a long and broadly accepted history: Is it fair to say “I don’t want to have a distracting debate about it?”

    I would now like to respond to some of the more specific views that Geoff expressed (in his Q&A response to Matto’s question) which fall into two main strands. I will cover the first strand in this post.

    Although Geoff stated, as I mentioned above, that he does not want to get into a debate about these things, he nevertheless offered a series of observations about the relationship between David and Bill specifically their relative contributions to their collaboration from 1974-78 when they did the research that formed the basis for both David’s research thesis in 1976; and permaculture’s foundation text “Permaculture One” (published 1978 ). Geoff states that:
    1. Bill gave David accommodation that enabled him to continue his studies after David had a motorbike accident;
    2. Bill was David’s mentor and David was Bill’s student;
    3. David’s research thesis (1976) and Permaculture One (1978 ) were merely proposals that Bill’s pre-existing ideas for permaculture would work;
    4. Following from 3 (above) is the claim that appears on the PRI Australia website that Bill alone coined the name “permaculture”.

    Concerning point 1, I have this question: Is it ethical to use the fact that you have extended a kindness to someone to provide part of a justification for claiming ownership of their contribution to jointly developed ideas? And you never know—maybe David was also kind to Bill.

    Concerning point 2: Yes, by David’s own account, Bill was a mentor to David. But, as I understand it, David was not Bill’s student. Bill worked for the University of Tasmania. David studied Environmental Design at the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education: to quote Payne and Grayson’s history of the permaculture movement (see link in post 2 above):
    “Holmgren was attracted to the natural and intellectual environment of Tasmania. He was also lured by Tasmania’s Environmental Design School that was led by Hobart architect and educator, Barry McNeil. This, Holmgren says, at that time was “the most radical experiment in tertiary education in Australia”, attracting design students from around Australia and the world.
    “In this intellectual hothouse I met Bill Mollison, whose life and ideas epitomised a creative bridge between nature and civilisation and between tradition and modernity,” Holmgren wrote.”

    And so Bill was a very important informal mentor to David but by no means his only influence. The fact that Bill was David’s mentor does not imply anything about the relative importance of their contributions to the collaboration that gave rise to David’s research thesis (1976), and to Permaculture One (1978 ). It often happens that research collaborations between students and mentors, while each has a different role, are nonetheless regarded as equal. What do we know about this collaboration?—The essential fact is that Bill and David agreed to publish Permaculture One as co-authors which means that—at the time—Bill and David were both happy to take an equal share of the credit for the fruits of their collaboration, further explicit evidence of this follows immediately below.

    Concerning point 3: In the “Acknowledgments” section at the beginning of Permaculture One, Bill, as co-author, put his name to the following description of the creative process that gave rise to Permaculture One:
    The involved mess of our first manuscript was first clarified by Zenda Onn, and later patiently edited and set out by Joyce Strong. Both gave more than normal help in preparing the final document. Val Hawkes assisted in correction and Phil Mollison* endured the innumerable fireside discussions of our formulative ideas.
    [*Presumably “Phil” is Bill’s brother.]
    This was written in 1978, when all the relevant events were fresh in Bill’s mind: And so, Bill and David had “innumerable fireside discussions of” THEIR “formulative ideas”. I think we must take Bill at his word. It follows that what Geoff stated in the Q&A video about David having only a minor role; one of simply fleshing out a proposal that Bill’s pre-existing idea of permaculture would work, is not consistent with Bill’s own original version of events. Later, on page 1 of Permaculture One, Bill and David go on to say:

    We have designed the system, as it is presented here, for cool temperate conditions; using other and additional species it would suit any climactic region, and is designed to fit into urban situations.

    We jointly evolved the system in the first place as an attempt to improve extant agricultural practices, both those of Western agribusiness, and the peasant grain culture of the third world.


    Note: “We jointly evolved the system”; once again we must take Bill at his word: Bill and David JOINTLY evolved permaculture.

    Concerning Point 4: In his original question Matto also noted that David’s role was not acknowledged in “the PRI site introduction”. I assume he is referring to this page:
    http://www.permaculturenews.org/about-permaculture-and-the-pri/

    which answers the question “What is Permaculture?” with the following opening line:
    Permaculture (the word, coined by Bill Mollison, is a portmanteau of permanent agriculture and permanent culture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.

    Significantly, the PRI USA website at:
    http://www.permacultureusa.org/what-is-permaculture/
    has a corresponding “What is permaculture? page with a corresponding opening line which instead states:
    Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.

    Both pages have a further 108 words, all identical—even the illustration is the same! The only difference is what has been put within those parentheses. By inserting the claim that Bill alone coined the word “permaculture” within those parentheses, the PRI Australia version leaves readers—particularly those new to permaculture—with the implicit impression that Bill alone was the founder of permaculture.

    Is it really ethical to seek to make a contentious change to the history of a movement through the vehicle of a high profile website that employs subliminally suggestive statements that fail to openly disclose what you are attempting do and which have the effect of working this change by osmosis rather than by openly making your case for a change?

    And: Why does PRI USA deliberately refrain from stating that Bill alone coined the word “permaculture”, when everything else on their “What is permaculture?” webpage is identical? For that matter: What does the public record say about the coining of this word?

    In 1978, Bill, as co-author of Permaculture One, put his name to the following statement on page 1 of that book:
    Permaculture is a word we have coined for an integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.

    I think we should again take Bill at his word: the word “permaculture”—like the design system it denotes—was created jointly by Bill and David. David, for his part, has been consistent about the origins of the word, on page xix of his 2002 book “Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability” he stated:
    The word permaculture was coined by Bill Mollison and myself in the mid-1970s …

    I don’t know what Bill said in Permaculture Two (1979) but certainly by the time he wrote “Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual” (1988 ) he was claiming that he alone coined the word. Faced with two accounts of the same event, one that has remained consistent versus another which has changed, most of us choose to believe the account that has remained consistent rather than the latest version of the account that has changed.

    I will come to the second main strand of Geoff’s views, which relate to the way that he has defined the “permaculture movement”, and the significance he attaches to it, in the next post.

    Please bear in mind, I really appreciate all of Geoff’s important work, and I would really rather not have to say all this.
     
  11. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Messages:
    2,215
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Yeah, I really do understand what you are saying Rob.

    There can be no denying that David was seminal in the development of Permaculture. I don't see how you can honestly separate that from any following movements. That is enough for me.
     
  12. Rob Jones

    Rob Jones Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Response to related comments on PRI articles site

    Craig posted a video talk of David's on the PRI articles site and there have been some comments posted that are relevant to this thread, if interested see:

    http://permaculturenews.org/2012/12/06/david-holmgren-interview/#comments


    My last post to that area is generating confusing e-mails about whether it has actually gone into moderation and so I might as well post it here too, preceded by two earlier posts: one by me; and one by Craig; that are relevant to my last post.

    The three posts follow immediately below.

    Hi Craig,

    You’re a good sport for posting this and I appreciate that you are being evenhanded about it. And I also appreciate all the effort that you put in; in both in quantity and quality to this website.

    But, as noted in my opening post on my thread in the Big Picture section of this Forum titled: “Respected folk who think that David Holmgren co-founded permaculture”; in 2008 on this website, in introducing an article by Bill Mollison, you referred to Bill as the “co-founder” of permaculture.

    But in the introduction to the other co-founder for these videos you refer to him as a “pioneer”. Is this going to be the PRI Australia policy in future given Geoff’s stance i.e., one co-founder (Bill) will be referred to as “the founder” while the other co-founder (David) will be referred to as a “pioneer”?

    If so, then we are not really getting closer to a resolution of this problem.

    Comment by Rob Jones — December 9, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

    Hi Rob

    My words are not ‘policy’, as you express. They are not carefully engineered terms, and do not have an ‘agenda’. There is no conspiracy here.

    I’m not sure of the purpose of your discussion in semantics. I wasn’t aware of your ‘Big Picture’ thread until you mentioned it in the comment above, but have just taken a very quick look. I get the sense, from your quoting from different parts of various sites, that you feel that certain statements are made with intentional nuances, but, as far as it concerns me, this is not the case. When quickly writing the passage above, for example, the word ‘pioneer’ fell onto the screen, and I thought it apt, consider a pioneer is someone who blazes a trail, for others to follow, etc. I never for a moment thought that it could be regarded as an ‘inferior’ term in any way! Regardless, I’ve just changed it to ‘co-founder’, in the hope it keeps you happy.

    I’ve not met David myself unfortunately. I did seek to meet him when I was visiting in the area in 2009, but I got the message from David’s end that they were too busy. Perhaps I’ll visit that part of the world again, if I have opportunity to do so, and if so I’ll try again to visit. I would love to do a featured article with photos/video of his property, etc. I’m sure our readers would love to see it and hear David talk about his experiences and his thoughts on the future, etc.

    But, who had more or less influence in starting the permaculture movement is not of as much interest to me as where it is heading, and how fast. Some of the points you are making could also be raised by Masanobu Fukuoka ‘disciples’, Sepp Holzer ‘disciples’, and perhaps about a great many indigenous eco-pioneers, etc. Both Bill and David, and all of us, are also standing on the shoulders of influences that pre-dated them. If we’re to get really picky about who did what, I think the conversation would get even more complicated, and comical….

    At the end of the day, I (speaking for myself) do not ‘follow’ other people. If ‘permaculture’ is only about Bill and/or David, then it’s a cult, and I want out. Rather, I learn from others, picking up insights and lessons, etc., but I must stand on my own two feet and make my own decisions. I personally do not elevate people in my mind beyond a certain level (you leave yourself wide open to be disappointed if you do), and I don’t hold them in balances, measuring one against another. Permaculture is a framework that we’re all involved in developing.

    Given the amount of writing you’ve put into your thread in the forum, it’s clear you have a passion for this particular ‘detail’ in life, but unfortunately I don’t share this passion, nor do I understand the point of it. (I suspect David would be a lot less passionate about this than yourself – but again, I’ve not met him, so what do I know.) You sound very sincere, but I can’t help but say that when I drill down to the base issue you’re bringing up, it all just comes across as petty, divisive and rather pointless to me.

    Comment by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor — December 10, 2012 @ 6:48 am

    Hi Chris, Carolyn, and Bill,

    You have expressed understandable concern that my posted question to Craig (above), is hung up on “semantics” and/or has lost sight of a constructive focus. I can certainly understand people feeling that way if they don’t know the context. But my question to Craig, asking if there was a PRI policy about what to call David, occurs within the context of a substantial but utterly unnecessary conflict that has been initiated by Geoff Lawton—not me. I am not quibbling over semantics; over a slight difference between “co-founder” and “pioneer”. To get the context you need to watch Geoff’s response to “Matto’s” question (which asked Geoff why he was excluding David’s contribution) on the Q&A#1 video on this site. Craig is aware of the issues because he read the question to Geoff and listened to Geoff’s extensive response (starting at 4 min: 30 sec) which runs for 6 ½ minutes. This is where Geoff made the unpleasant claims that have kicked-off this unpleasant dispute. I would much rather this dispute had never happened but that was Geoff’s decision—not mine.

    In his Q&A response Geoff claimed that Permaculture One was merely a proposal that Bill’s pre-existing ideas for the permaculture design system would work and that David had only a minor role in developing the design system. He further claimed that the important thing about permaculture is really the “permaculture movement”, as distinct from the actual permaculture design system; and he claimed Bill was the sole founder of the permaculture movement, and that this alone justifies his exclusion of David. And so Geoff is attempting not only to rewrite the history of permaculture and deny David’s acknowledged role, but also to relegate the permaculture design system to the level of a secondary detail. And this is what newcomers to permaculture are being told.

    Geoff’s claims ignore both the evidence of Bill’s own words in Permaculture One, and the broadly accepted history of permaculture. David has always been regarded as the co/-founder/-originator/-developer of permaculture (the term chosen varies) and in my thread: “Respected Permaculture folk who think David Holmgren co-founded permaculture” I have posted a set of links which demonstrates this fact. All I am trying to do in this dispute is defend permaculture’s accepted history from Geoff’s attempt to change it. It is Geoff—not me—who has kicked this whole thing off, and if he hadn’t done so, nobody would be hearing BOO from me on this subject. He is broadcasting his rewrite of permaculture history through his high profile, his videos, and the PRI Australia website. All I am doing is speaking in defence of the currently accepted history in my low profile thread and posting reasoned, relevant comments here. In this context Geoff has turned the terms “founder”, “co-founder”, etc., into clear emblems that signify whether or not you are prepared to swallow his rewritten history.

    And so, Chris, Carolyn and Bill: please understand that my question to Craig about PRI policy was the polar opposite of a semantic quibble. I agree that this utterly needless, unpleasant conflict constitutes a distraction from a constructive focus on actually doing permaculture, and I do wonder, considering that Geoff has so many worthwhile things to do, why he feels compelled to go down this path—but down it he has gone—apparently without regard for all the trouble it will cause.

    PS: I reiterate, as I have done in each of my responses about this issue, that I appreciate Geoff’s important work. My only objective in responding as I have is to point out that Geoff’s key claims in this dispute are simply untrue.

    Regards

    Rob

    Comment by Rob Jones — December 13, 2012 @ 2:17 pm
     
  13. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Messages:
    4,771
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Sorry i don't see the point or value of this thread
    It matters Why?
     
  14. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    1,456
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Matters to him.

    Personally, I'm interested in the history all being laid out. Whether or not it's important, in the big scheme of things...
     
  15. No idea

    No idea Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Michealangelica is right the value or point of this thread is irrelevant. As a newbie to this forum but someone who has followed the concept, lifestyle and values of permaculture (albeit unconciously) for a long time. Without having done a PDC or indeed even being aware of Bill,David or Geoff (apologies to anyone I've missed) I would have to say that the idea of permaculture and indeed the practice has been around for a lot longer than any of these guy,s. They just happened to be the first to put a name to it. And if you want to be really honest the first to really make a business out of it.
     
  16. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Messages:
    779
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    "Permaculture as a design system contains nothing new. " - Bill Mollison
     
  17. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    2,978
    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Considering how much I have learned about the Americas and farming practices in the book 1491; the above quote is a true-ism for me.

    I mean if you really want to go back.. you can credit Huglekulture to Pliny the elder (first recorded instance I know of)

    You can also add ((Sorry Geoff & Bill)) Findhorn community... they were doing Permaculture before it was a word.

    Might as well add Fukuoka, and Hazelip, and while we are at it, what about the Anthropologist that came up with the zone system.

    What about all the other people they both met (Bill & Dave) that they visited while coming up with the pamphlets prior to the book?






    Personally, I think this whole thread is in poor taste & makes me sick to my stomach.
     
  18. No idea

    No idea Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Totally agree lets end it now
     
  19. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,721
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    What's wrong with the thread? I haven't read all of Rob's long posts, but he seems to be approaching this in a respectful way.
     
  20. CraigMackintosh

    CraigMackintosh *****

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2008
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0

Share This Page