Making Permaculture Stronger

Making Permaculture Stronger


Joel Glanzberg: Continuing the conversation about permaculture and working to regenerate whole living systems (E20)

June 21, 2019

Joel Glanzberg - the sequel

I was fully stoked to have this second chat with Joel Glanzberg where we continue exploring his journey with living systems thinking and working within a regenerative paradigm (after first talking in episode twelve). Same topic yet very different energy as the previous episode with Joel's long-term colleague Carol Sanford.

As we discuss Joel is heading to Melbourne in July 2019, where in addition to running some Regenerative Practitioner training he'll be giving a free talk July 17 and a one-day workshop on Regenerating Place July 27 - both in Brunswick, Melbourne. He'll also be tagging along with me to some of my current projects so I look forward to reporting back on those adventures and conversations in due course :-).

Check out Regenisis Group here, the Regenerative Practitioner training here, and Joel's personal site Pattern Mind here.

Here is the full text from Joel's open letter to the permaculture movement (please share any thoughts you have about this or the episode in a comment - I always so appreciate hearing how this stuff is landing out there):

First of all, I want to thank you, not only for your good efforts, time, and energy but for your caring…your caring not only for this living earth but for the people and the beauty of life. Thank you.Many of you may know of my work from the example of Flowering Tree in Toby Hemenway’s excellent book Gaia’s Garden and the video 30 Years of Greening the Desert, others from my regenerative community development work with Regenesis. In any case I know that you share my concerns for the degrading condition of the ecological and human communities of our biosphere and I am writing to you to ask for your help.We are at a crisis point, a crossroads and if we are to turn the corner we need to use everything at our disposal to its greatest effect. My concern is that we are not using the very powerful perspective of permaculture to its greatest potential and that we need to up our game. We know that the living world is calling for this from us.I often feel that permaculture design is like a fine Japanese chisel that is mostly used like a garden trowel, for transplanting seedlings. It can of course be used for this purpose, but is certainly not its highest use.Permaculture Design has often been compared to a martial art such as Aikido because at its heart it is about observing the forces at play to find the “least change for the greatest effect”; a small move that changes entire systems. This is how nature works and is precisely the sort of shortcut we desperately need.The lowest level of any martial art is learning to take a hit well. Yet this is where so much of our energy seems to be directed: setting ourselves and our communities up to be resilient in the face of the impacts of climate change and the breakdown of current food, water, energy, and financial systems.The next level is to avoid the blow, either through dodging, blocking or redirecting it. Much of the carbon farming and other efforts directed toward pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and developing non-carbon sources of energy fall into this category.At their highest expression practitioners track patterns to their source, shifting them before they take form, redirecting them in regenerative directions. This is what is behind principles like “obtain a yield” or “the problem is the solution” and the reason for protracted and thoughtful observation. We learn to read energies and to find the acupuncture-like inoculation or disturbance that changes the manifestation by changing the underlying pattern. Problems are turned into solutions and provide us with yields if we can stop trying to stop or block them. This is the pattern of Regeneration.Every permaculture technique is a small disturbance that shifts the underlying pattern and hence the system.


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