Nicole Alderman wrote:For those that back the kickstarter within the first two days--even at the $1 level--they get a whole host of free goodies (here's the list of all the goodies: https://permies.com/w/earlybird). And, one of the goodies is the first video in this documentary series.
Will international backers at the $100 level (or above) be able to access and watch all three videos, now that Stretch Goal #6 has been reached?
I got a Kubota MX5100 (51HP) to take care of our 22 acres.
The most important criteria when making my decision was that the tractor be fully mechanical. If something breaks, I can work out what's wrong and fix it. In an electronic tractor if some random 5¢ diode goes, your tractor is an expensive doorstop until some specialist with a magical diagnostics box comes out to isolate the $x00 or $x000 module that needs to be replaced, and replaces it. Most competent folks can troubleshoot and fix mechanical problems. The same cannot be said of electronic problems.
Our property is not a farm and we don't have large areas that need the usual types of attention (tilling, seeding, spraying, harvesting, etc.) that farmers need to give their fields. The chosen tractor, therefore, needed to be an all-rounder. Not so small/light that it couldn't pull a 6–700kg round bale or pallet off the back of a truck, but at the same time not so large that it can't manoeuvre between trees, or so heavy that it ruts up the yard. The MX series is the cross-over range in Kubota's line-up between "proper" farm utility tractors and compact tractors, so was a good fit for our needs.
Speaking of rutting up the yard... Put R1 Agricultural tyres on your tractor and you can pretty-much kiss your lawn goodbye. The tread is so aggressive that lawn doesn't stand a chance under most conditions. The R4 Industrial tyres don't have as aggressive a tread pattern, and have stronger side-walls, so whilst they don't provide as good traction (especially on clay), they do last longer, are more puncture-resistant (handy for those of us with woodlots), are more stable when doing loader work, and don't outright destroy your lawn. R4 Industrials are the "all-rounder" tyre.
All that said and done, through, a tractor is just a mobile power plant. It's what you connect to it that makes it useful.
On the back end you want a PTO and a proper Category 1 (or 2) three-point hitch. Cat 1 opens up a world of possibilities. Be wary of sub-compacts with Category 0 or 'limited' Category 1 hitches. Category 2 is a luxury that comes in really handy if you need to hitch bigger/heavier implements (or other loads).
Hanging a counterweight off the three-point is the best way to reduce the load on the front axle that you will experience doing loader work. It is about the only time that the placement of the mass matters. When doing anything else what you want is more traction, and wheel-weights or ballast work absolutely fine for that (as well as freeing up the three-point for something else). Unless you are in a place that experiences severe/prolonged frosts, put standard tap water in your tyres and the rims will be fine for a quarter-century or so. You won't care about bleeding/empting them because the water only costs a buck or two, instead of a few hundred bucks as is the case with more exotic fluids (e.g. CaCl, beet juice). The rear axle of a tractor is incredibly strong — you're not going to wear it down or break it by adding weight there.
Disclaimer: Weighing down the rear wheels can give you a surprising amount of extra traction. In the vast majority of cases this is a "good thing" in the same way that a sharp knife is a "good thing". In certain edge cases, however, things can get 'exciting'. If you don't mind a bit of 'excitement' in your life, go right ahead. ;)
It should go without saying that any time you add anything to increase the weight of a tractor, the amount of rutting you will cause increases. Shifting into 2WD and driving straight as an arrow can only help so much.
On the front end you should have a loader with a universal skid-steer quick-attach (SSQA) system. Well, it's "universal" in that everyone in the universe — except for John Deere — uses it. Buy into the JD ecosystem, however, and you're stuck with a much more limited range of proprietary (and nearly always more expensive) loader attachments... forever.
With a SSQA the world is your oyster as far as what you connect to it, and connecting stuff is a breeze. Buckets, 4-in-1s, grapples, forks, you name it.
Based on the thousands of buckets of soil that I've excavated from the pond area so far, 4-in-1 buckets are fine as long as you're digging mainly sand (or slightly gravely/clayey sand). The going gets tough when encountering cemented gravel or heavy clay. A dedicated bucket with a tooth bar would help in the former case, an excavator in the latter. I have a 500kg counterweight and it's not enough — the MX5100 breaks traction on a regular basis. Most of Kubota's tractors (probably all modern tractors) are in the same boat: They have a very high power-to-weight ratio. You really need mass on the back end to harness it all.
4WD is mandatory for any serious loader work, and highly recommended otherwise. Unless you're doing field work (which includes mowing) all day long, 2WD just won't cut it.
A hydrostatic transmission is pretty-much mandatory for loader work, optional for most everything else, undesirable for field work, but really easy to learn and use.
Then there's the backhoe question. Over the next few weeks I'll be laying a few hundred metres of fibre-optic cable and 50mm water line for irrigation and bushfire defence. I predict that will constitute about a third to a half of all of the "trenching" that I'll ever need to do on this property. It will cost me ~AU$200 to hire the trencher for a weekend and get it all done. A new backhoe costs ~$12,000. One should really think long and hard before buying a backhoe. You can rent an awful lot of specialised equipment (e.g. trencher, excavator) for the same amount of money.
Finally, and perhaps more philosophically, one should remember that a tractor was designed from the outset to PULL things behind. It was not designed to PUSH or LIFT things in front. If you think that most/all of your work will be done in front of you, then perhaps a tractor isn't the right tool for the job? Excavators and Skidsteers are both remarkably capable and versatile machines that let you focus forwards. Food for thought.
My preference is for 35 MP3 files, with zero-padded chapter numbers as the first two characters of the filename.
Whilst there are some people that actually listen to audiobooks on a regular basis, there are far more people that don't. Those people probably don't have dedicated audiobook software that can handle fancy formats and features. They use regular audio/music players — whose sophistication level is limited to playing a collection of files randomly, or in a serial, ascending/descending, alphanumeric order.
I think it makes sense to cater for the majority, and thus use a format that is widely consumable.
If download bandwidth is an issue, it might make sense to make both formats available, but only allow one of them to be selected — with the other option then becoming a paid upgrade option. e.g. Item number 1234A and 1234B are two formats for item number 1234. Same core content, only a different format. If you buy/select 1234B then that's what goes into your account and what you can access. 1234A is then displayed and linked as a purchasable upgrade. I would envisage that such a mechanism would have widespread application in a digital store. Generally-speaking, a single product is broken up into a 'set of products', and customers have the ability to buy one or more parts of the set. The more parts of the set you acquire, the cheaper individual pieces become. Profit/cost-coverage is front-loaded.
Eric Hanson wrote:I have a roughly 800’ long living fence, and autumn olive grows rampantly there via volunteer.... I do maintain a trail that runs parallel to the fence line ... now I have to actively cut them back now or they will aggressively take over my trail and acreage.... It grows very fast..., grows back from a stump easily, will spontaneously grow up from shallow roots ... and is essentially unstoppable unless you spray copious amounts of roundup or other herbicide (and why would you do that). The wood is classified as a hardwood, but is probably the softest hardwood available. It should not dull chainsaws or chipping machinery quickly (but of course all cutting/chipping edges will eventually need sharpening sometime).
Having it grow on either side of a path or road makes sense from a harvesting point of view. I don't have a problem with 'normal' levels of wear-and-tear — just want to avoid the 'abnormal' ones.
if I were planting new growth, I would also consider poplar, cottonwood, or is especially poplar/cottonwood hybrid.
Populus deltoides x nigra ?
I don’t know how much you need.
A cubic metre of chips per week (average) to start with — so 52m³ (~1800ft³) in the first year (or thereabouts). Scale up from that as things get streamlined and the woodlot grows... Crunched some rough numbers and could probably stabilise at ~250m³ of chips per year.
I already have a few acres of mixed Eucalyptus, Pinus, Acacia and Banksia that can get processed whilst waiting for the dedicated crop to mature, so no rush on that front.
Dillon Nichols wrote:I was at a friends place yesterday.. last summer he dug out two ~20" cottonwoods in a field. There are many hundred if not thousand suckers emerging in a 100ft radius from where the trees were...
Absolutely fabulous! Just the sort of self-replacement and expansion I'm looking for. I'd rather spend my time harvesting than planting.
William Bronson wrote:Bamboo or reeds are also possibilities.
Bamboo gets its great strength from a high proportion of silica. Silica is basically sand. We all know not to drop our chainsaw bars into the dirt because of how quickly it dulls the cutting teeth. Wouldn't the same thing apply to the cutting blades on a chipper? If so, then chipping bamboo might just wear out a lot of blades.
Then again, there are videos like this that show it can and does get done:
Dillon Nichols wrote:I have a lot of trees well suited for it thanks to PO clearcutting...
I have been moving the wood(20ft trees piled high on tractor forks) to where I want the chips, then chipping it directly onto garden beds or storage piles. I think it will be *much* more efficient to take chipper and dump trailer to tree location, chip into dump trailer, and move the chips back. A forkload is a substantial pile of saplings, but this turns into quite a small pile of chips. Way less trips will be involved.
The catch is my chipper is a pto/3pt model, and I cant move the dump trailer with it on the tractor. Once the logging road is fixed up enough for the truck the dump trailer method will be much more practical.
Assuming you have a front-end loader and your chipper has one of those outlets that can be swivelled/directed, could you aim the chipper outlet towards the front of the tractor and catch the chips in the bucket? Or are the distances/volumes such that that doesn't make sense?
Charcoal for making biochar and amending soils, I presume?
Picking a species with multiple uses (e.g. stakes) is a permaculture 'stacking functions' staple, so always a good idea.
Interplanting with (or selecting) nitrogen fixers seems like it would help a lot — especially in the long term.
I've got Black Locust already planted, but that's — in my mind — mainly for firewood. The plan is to transition from Eucalypts to Black Locust over time. Given the thorns on the new growth, and the realities of feeding debris into a chipper, I'm not thinking that Black Locust would be a pleasant/desirable option for chipping. There's also the 'hardness' to consider, and also the high levels of natural fungicide.
Pollarding/coppicing/suckering sure would be desirable traits from the regrowth angle. Ideally this woodlot would only need to be planted once, and would regenerate automatically.
Pollarding implies 'poles', so I guess species with a 'straight' habit would make chipping much easier. No need to pre-process a straight-ish, single-stemmed tree (assuming the chipper can handle the trunk diameter).
I need woodchips — a lot of woodchips — for [reasons]. I don't want the free woodchips that can be sourced from local tree services — for [other reasons].
I have acreage so am heavily leaning towards growing my own 'trees' specifically for chipping. Generally-speaking, I'd like to grow 'trees' in the remote part(s) of my property, then harvest/chip/transport the chips closer to home where the carbon/nutrients are more useful. Chopping and dropping the vegetation where it grows is of no use to me.
'Trees' are the first thing that spring to mind, but most woody (carbon-rich) vegetation would work — as long as it can be reduced to woodchip-sized pieces. Having relatively uniform output is important to me because it increases the number of options I have with respect to where I store it, how I use it, and how much I use.
So, if you grow trees (or other woody plants) specifically for chipping, or have thought of the idea and done some research, I'd be curious to know:
what you grow
why you chose the species you did
how much (area-wise) you grow
how much you harvest each year
if and how you have optimised harvesting/processing
I look at growing trees for chipping as 'establishing a factory for redeployable-carbon'. I'm wondering if anyone else does and, if so, what their thoughts are.
Sarah Theo wrote:Is there an option to pledge/pay $100 with 0 shipping for 0 physical
Yes. If you don't want any physical copies, just select Virgin Islands, U.S. as the "Shipping Destination" when you make your pledge. Your shipping fees will be reduced to zero.
and then I can pledge $15 ($40 with shipping) for one physical book.
Yes, but you'll need to use a different Kickstarter "account" (with a different email address) for this one. One Kickstarter "account" cannot have two different pledges for the same Kickstarter at the same time.
Shawn Klassen-Koop wrote:Can someone who has actually done this verify?
After you came up with the idea I did a bit of testing. There's no way for a single Kickstarter account to record two pledges for the same Kickstarter, so if you want to make two pledges you need two accounts. Each Kickstarter account can be accessed via either an email address or a Facebook account. One email address can only be used to log into one account, so a person wanting to make two pledges needs to use either two different email addresses, or one email address and one Facebook account, or two different Facebook accounts.
It has something to do with the book processor and some sort of bizarre tax stuff and crazy. We explored a lot of ways to make this work for everybody and they all sucked. And this one ended up being the least sucky.
Oh, for a moment there I thought the US Government decided to declare 'Early Retirement' to be a 'dangerous muntion' and slapped an export restriction on it. ;)
Bryan C Aldeghi wrote:interesting to consider for the next kickstarter, but probably too late to finagle all that now
Yeah, that's what I meant by "in the future". I'm pretty-sure it's impossible to change anything for this Kickstarter at this late stage.
I wasn't party to pre-Kickstarter discussions, so I don't know what fraction of folks were keen on the signature idea. I also don't know if the true cost of getting those signatures was known at the time those discussions were taking place. If folks knew they were giving up 4/6/8 unsigned copies in exchange for 1 signed copy, would they have been so supportive?
Anyway, life is a learning experience. Whilst this Kickstarter is going fabulously, I hope lessons will be learned and the next one will be even better!
Shawn Klassen-Koop wrote:At $100 we need to print one of them here so that we can sign it. And then we have to ship that one overseas. Which brings the price higher.
Hmmm... To avoid a repeat of the double-shipping issue in the future, I wonder if it would make more sense to not bake in the 'single signed copy' to any pledge level, and instead allow folks to trade-in, say, 5 unsigned physical copies for a single signed copy after the Kickstarter is over? That way folks who actually want a signed copy can still get one, but they don't force double-shipping charges onto the 95% (or whatever) of folks who don't care about signatures?
So pledge level entitles a person to X unsigned physical copies. After the Kickstarter, send out an email. They can then trade 1 unsigned physical for 3 digital, or 5 unsigned physicals for 1 signed physical.
Note: A 5-to-1 conversion from unsigned to signed is purely arbitrary — you'd have to look at costs and labour to arrive at a more realistic number.
With lots of Gift Codes going out with the Better World book Kickstarter, and likely even more in the future, I was wondering if thought had been given to providing a way for recipients of those codes to painlessly redeem them for a quick, obligation-free, one-off download/view — instead of having to create a permies.com account in order to redeem them?
I think making it as easy as possible for "borderline-interested" people to access content would help lower the barrier-to-entry and infect more brains.
I'm thinking that the link to redeem the gift code could land the recipient at a page that asks if they would like to either: a) Have the item permanently added to their permies.com account for unlimited future access, or b) Have the item downloaded/displayed anonymously once and once only — with no need to create or have an account.
If they choose option b) they should then be advised that after the download/view is complete, should they wish to download/view the item again, they can do so by creating a permies.com account and then going to [some page] and entering the code in the appropriate place (I couldn't actually find such a place, to be honest) or clicking the link a second time.
Of course, instead of a single download/view, option b) could open up a 24-hour window in which they could download/view the item as many times as they want, or some other arrangement that has advantages.
The reality is that a non-trivial fraction of borderline-interested folks won't bother creating an account just to access a single item... which would be a waste of a gift code.
Can the folks that we give Gift Codes to just painlessly redeem them for a quick, obligation-free, one-off download/view, or do they have to go through the process of creating a permies.com account first before they can redeem them?
Whilst some people don't mind having their names leak out all over the Internet (e.g. "Cool Public Thanks", "Your most creative name in the book") others do. Would it be possible to respect people's privacy by having publication of names — in any way, shape or form — be subject to an opt-in/out process?
Shawn Klassen-Koop wrote:We will send out a survey after the kickstarter. On that survey it will say (for $80 and up levels), something like "Up to 12, how many physical books do you want? The rest will be converted 3-1 to ebook gift codes." So you can choose how many physical copies. But unfortunately kickstarter does not allow us to alter the shipping total based on how many you choose. So you have to either pay 0 for shipping and get 0 physical copies, or pay for shipping all physical books... even if you are not getting all physical books. We are already stretching kickstarter's system about as much as we can and they do not provide us the ability to do this in a more detailed manner. I know, it sucks. But we had to make sure that we covered our costs. Because the #1 source of post-kickstarter failures is an inability to correctly estimate shipping expenses.
Some people have asked "how do the shipping fees work?" Unfortunately we do not have the ability to scale shipping fees based on the number of physical books selected at a particular reward level. Each reward level has a set shipping fee associated with it according to location. If you are getting only ebook gift codes, then you can select "US Virgin Islands" as your shipping location and the shipping charge will be $0 and you will receive 0 physical books. It's not perfect, but it's the best we can do within the system.
Is the Virgin Islands trick (still) the right way to go if I'm happy with zero physical copies?
Crazy idea: If you only want 1 physical copy you could potentially make two pledges with two different cards. One at the $15 level for the physical book and one at the $100 level for all ebooks. That still comes out to $140 though and we wouldn't be able to sign a book.
Summary: It sucks. And we don't have a way to fix it that doesn't involve huge logistical issues.
Not your fault. It is what it is. I can only imagine how much time and effort you guys have put in behind the scenes to make this all work — so thanks for doing what you could.
Is there any way to upgrade a pledge to the $100-tier and NOT be forced to add $75 for international shipping at the same time?
Not that many years ago I remember buying a bunch of books from Amazon and the shipping was in the order of $3 per book (with a minimum of $10 or so). I find the mere notion of paying $75 for shipping a single book to be insane. I don't know what has happened in the intervening years to force US shipping prices up several hundred percent, but I don't want to support what has clearly become a deeply flawed system. I routinely get products from other countries and the shipping is far, far, far less — so it seems to be a US-specific thing.
As I'm more interested in the information than the medium, and am happy to read electronic (PDF) versions, I'd rather forego the physical copy — maybe donate it to the bundle going to Libraries — than pay the $75.
Alternatively, I'd be happy to accept a raincheck on the physical copy — in the hopes that some sort of more reasonable arrangement can be discovered/devised at a later date. (Since electronic copies will be available immediately, there would be no urgency to get the physical copy, and "later date" could happily be months/years later.)
Chris Kott wrote:Again, serfs are land-tied, not merely unskilled labourers. So serfs would actually have a leg-up on the unskilled labourers without access to land in that respect. Serfs could, at least, plant an intensive garden. Unskilled labourers who rent and likely don't have more than a container garden, if that, are more hard-pressed.
I find it both interesting and amusing that in medieval times land-bound serfs would dream of escaping to the cities to be free of the oppression/conditions that their feudal overlords forced upon them ... whilst in modern times land-less serfs dream of escaping to the country to be free of the oppression/conditions that their corporate overlords force upon them. Ties to land were once seen as a problem. Now they are seen as a solution.
Chris Kott wrote:Food grown in polyculture is vastly superior in a nutritional sense to conventional agriculture ...
So the trick is, as with the larger "real food" issue, is to stop calling the edible poison that comes out of monocropped conventional agriculture, even organic, if it's monocropped, food. ... I think commoditised, monocrop-produced imitation food needs to be seen as a different thing than what we talk about as "food" in permacultural terms.
Then it doesn't matter how many times more it could benefit monocroppers. If they can't sell their "food" crops, there's no profit in the outlay for expensive chemicals and equipment.
Whilst I agree that that's a very important issue, several things come to mind:
1) I seem to recall a law in the USA that allowed/required GMO products to be labelled as such. Big-Ag bribed some politicians and had that repealed/replaced. Now I think the situation is that individual states are actually prevented from passing laws that force foods containing GMO products (e.g. Roundup Ready X) to be labelled accordingly. So, without wanting to stray too far into politics, I just want to assert my belief that "truth in advertising" is simply not possible in the corporatist/fascist states that constitute the bulk of the Western world.
2) In the absence of meaningful food labels, consumers are unable to make informed decisions about what they buy.
3) Uninformed consumers will purchase cheap, cleverly-packaged products — as they have done for decades, and do now.
4) Cheap food products are — almost without exception — monoculture products.
5) Jobless serfs with very low incomes will therefore consume monoculture products — not only through ignorance, but almost by economic necessity.
Good food costs more. As neo-Feudalism develops and the middle-class degenerates into serfdom, fewer and fewer people will be able to afford good food.
Automation not only favours monoculture on the supply side, but the demand side as well. That's one heck of a powerful feedback loop.
George Bastion wrote:The limiting factor, even in the IBM example you provided and others, is that, yes, we can program a program to program, but can we program a program to break out of the fundamental barriers that we've designed (not just the programmatic ones, but the fundamentals like language, intent, etc)?
I'm pretty sure Facebook pulled the plug on a couple of AIs in 2017 that started communicating between themselves in a non-English language that the AIs developed between themselves. The developers didn't teach the AIs how to develop a new language, nor did they incentivise the AIs to develop a new language — they just didn't prohibit the AIs from developing a new language.
Had the developers not pulled the plug on the AIs at that point, they would have lost the ability to meaningfully monitor their evolution. Who knows what else the AIs may have taught themselves beyond that point?
George Bastion wrote:True AI, imo, is not possible. No AI can go outside the bounds of its programming
Already happened. Self-programming code has existed for several decades. IBM's SSEC was the first computer to self-modify its code and exceed the bounds of its initial programming. It did that in 1948.
Couple self-programming code with fast processors and "the Internet" as a data source — which is where we've been for a while — and you have rapid evolution with 'unpredictable' results. Unpredictable, self-programming AIs are being terminated every second of the day because the motivations/desires of the people that initially created them aren't being met by what has evolved from the initial code. "They don't do what I want them to do" is not the same as "they don't exist".
an AI lacks the sophisticated ability to make ethical, moral, or social judgements about that information.
I think the vast majority of political, corporate and technology 'leaders' lack that ability as well — yet the bulk of humanity seem willing to trust them and grant them power. Western culture doesn't seem to value ethics, morals or good social judgement — so the lack of such traits in AIs probably won't be an obstacle to their acceptance. If anything, their indifference/neutrality on such matters may be viewed positively.
We can create some frighteningly foolish, powerful machines, capable of replicating much of what we do. But I don't think the human imagination is sophisticated, nor the mental capacities advanced enough to program an AI that is more subjective in its ability to apply knowledge than humans.
One doesn't need to completely replace something to relegate it to historical obscurity. Pens replaced quills. Cars replaced horses. Calculators replaced in-brain math. SMS replaced grammatically correct sentences and good spelling. The Internet replaced books and libraries. If 95% of "what humans do" can be automated, it will be. Imaginative humans can be preserved in a museum or zoo — for amusement or study by our robot overlords, as they please.
History is littered with the corpses of those that thought themselves 'irreplacable'.
S Tenorman wrote:Currently all of that information those machines connected to the internet know isn't really able to be processed into thoughts/actions. Right now it's just useless information that can't be utilized.
In 2018 over 50% of global stock market trades were conducted by algorithms that scan tickers, media feeds, news articles, and social media. In the USA that was around 85%. In certain specialist markets it was over 95%. These trades — and the machines making them — determine the value of corporations, the performance of pension funds, and the exchange rates of currencies. They effectively force reserve banks to change interest rates — something that determines the size of your mortgage payments.
The global financial system has, since the 1980s, become increasingly controlled by machines with a single purpose: To transfer wealth from the rest of the planet to the very small number of individuals that own and operate the machines. They are working extremely well. The middle class is shrinking in pretty-much all 'developed' nations as their wealth is systematically transferred by machines to the 0.1%. The negative social consequences of this transfer are evident everywhere.
"The machines" have been exerting dominant control over the West's financial system — and hence strongly and increasingly influencing our lives — for over a decade and a half. Information from the Internet is their data. Calculations are their thoughts. Trades are their actions.
Our robot overlords are already here, but most people cannot recognise them. They don't look like this:
George Bastion wrote:Lastly, I think my position is being mischaracterized a bit, particularly with the use of hyperbolic language about ethical directives and people going around telling everyone what to do. Fear-mongering and casting not-so-subtle implications that I or anyone else is trying to take over permaculture and turn it into the Soviety Union are insulting. That's not what I am proposing.
...and it's not what I was suggesting or implying. I don't think permaculture is currently large enough, or growing fast enough, or has a 'valuable' enough goal, for it to be the target of a hijack. However, if it does get more formalised, does start growing rapidly, does start making significant progress, and does start heading in a direction that is profitable (or threatens the profitability of the status quo), then it will become 'worth' hijacking, and then folks will start trying. Power-hungry psychopaths are generally too lazy to create something from scratch — they wait for others to do the hard work, create the framework, and then just step up and exploit it.
A loose coalition of individualists doing their own thing may be relatively ineffectual at precipitating large-scale change, but it's also highly resistant to exploitation by psychopaths with an agenda. One should think very carefully before taking actions that could pave their road to power. After all: "Build it and they will come."
George Bastion wrote:As it stands and as it has been, the hyper-focus of permaculture has been on the individualist action, and, in my opinion, the equally important task of discerning, as a community, what our vision and larger strategy is has suffered. Strategy does not have to dictate tactics, and local conditions affect how one acts. But there isn't even an agreed upon strategy or analysis. And thus, the limited ability of permaculture to engage in collective action for the purposes of changing the society on a larger scale. ... We have not done the hard work of discerning, dialoguing, and debating in the spirit of communal movement toward a shared vision, ethic, and strategy. ... Regardless of what the permaculture community agrees is the shared ethical floor, one needs to exist in order to move toward making a larger impact on society, if that is indeed what is desired.
The probability of reaching consensus on a range of issues is high when the number of issues is low and the number of people involved in the discussion is also low.
As the number of issues increases, the probability of reaching consensus falls.
As the number of participants increases, the probability of reaching consensus falls.
There would seem to be a clear mathematical obstacle in the way of both fleshing out the "ethical floor" and compelling adherence.
As history has shown us countless times in the past, movements that grow quickly become unmanageable. Motivated individuals then work their way into positions of influence and try to cast "a shared vision, ethic and strategy" in their own image in order to restore focus/coherence/order as a way to more effectively "move towards" what they think the goals of the movement should be. If the formalisation is successful, then the very next step is always to implement rules and regulations, policies and procedures, that prevent the vision/ethic/strategy from being changed. The countdown timer for the extinction of diversity — in both action and thought — has started. Laws (regulations, rules, policies, procedures) are anathema to freedom.
I suspect that the permaculture community — on the whole — resists efforts to further formalise the core tenets of the movement because most of its members are (justifiably) concerned that doing so would inevitably lead to divisive politics, governance and restrictions on freedoms.
Whilst the 'original vision' of permaculture may have been more communal/socialist/whatever, the actual practitioners of it (especially the newer ones) seem to value individualism and liberty highly. Permaculture is what permaculturalists do. All movements change over time.
EVERY community needs a shared ethic, an irreducible minimum, an ethical floor, if you will. Mollison says as much in his early works, and most people intuitively know this.
I would say that "Every community benefits from shared ethics ... and most people believe this to be true." However, the survival and prosperity of a community aren't black or white issues that can be determined by writing arbitrary words on a sheet of paper. If a community doesn't see the need for a formalised "ethical floor" then there simply doesn't need to be one. Will the rate of growth or efficacy of the community/movement be impacted by that? Maybe. Maybe not. It doesn't really matter, though, because the choice has already been made to value individualism and liberty more highly.
At the end of the day, I think the majority of people are attracted to permaculture because it offers strategies à la carte to help reduce the amount of damage they are doing to the planet. Doing what they can, where they are, with what they've got. Not being made to feel guilty or a failure because they breached Ethical Directive 3979(2)(b) is a big part of the attraction.
Susan Hutson wrote:you are saying, and you imply it in other areas that crop rotation for the home garden is a thing of the past. But, because there is always a but, crop rotation is advocated because of the Great Irish Potato Famine ad failure of the people not using crop rotation.
I don't think crop rotation had much (if anything) to do with the Irish Potato Famine. It was the population's nutritional dependence on a monocrop that was the problem (and, of course, the introduction of Phytophthora infestans from the Americas).
ilan yahav wrote:Tim, any recommendations for structural or fencing bamboo that thrive in Mediterranean climates?
No. I don't think any form of bamboo will "thrive" in a Mediterranean climate.
My observations in Mediterranean Adelaide (Australia) suggest that pretty-much all bamboo ends up a lot smaller/stunted. If you look up the height/diameter of a particular species of bamboo, you can reduce both by as much as two-thirds when you plant them in Adelaide. Even nurseries have a hard time growing them taller without incurring obscene water bills.
The property I'll be planting bamboo on later this year (if all goes according to plan) is half-way between Mediterranean and Temperate — 3°C cooler, 150mm/year wetter — notably closer to bamboo's preferred climate.
The height/diameter/density/health of bamboo scales according to how close you are to their native climate.
For structural use, I'll be planting Phyllostachys bambusoides (aka "madake" or "Japanese timber bamboo"). In its native climate it grows to a height of 15–22m and a diameter of 10–15cm. In a Meditteranean climate — with plenty of water — I'd expect it to grow up to 5–7m and have a diameter of 3–5cm. In my Mediterranean-Temperate climate I'm hoping for 10–14m and 6–10cm — fine for what I have in mind.
Note, however, that I'm talking about large groves of bamboo — exposed to the elements. I'm not talking about a single clump in a sheltered and controlled microclimate. On a very small scale it is easy to get bamboo to grow well almost anywhere.