Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Urban Permaculture

I've been having more and more conversations about permaculture lately, and I am happy that is so. Since urban centers are such an integral aspect of our modern societies, it is obvious that urban permaculture is going to need to be accepted on a large scale. Regulars (the 5-10 of you who I am so thankful to have met) here know, I think, the importance of this acceptance.

So for anyone who has not already had the opportunity to see this, I am suggesting a short video series called Urban Permaculture Strategies. This is a fast but eye opening and educational documentary (in a series which can be seen with many other great presentations at this Youtube channel) by Bill Mollison, whom many call the Father of Permaculture.

There is no embed capability for this video so I could only include the link, but that is just fine as the hosting channel also linked has a plethora of permaculture videos.

Since climate change and freshwater depletion are becoming such dangerous issues, I thought I would link to the Dryland Permaculture Strategies video as well. There is some absolutely astonishing stuff there. I had no idea that part of the New Deal in the 30's were efforts to engineer and activate solutions to the desertification of the western US. I'd like to know why prison inmates aren't engaged in this kind of activity all over the west. Surely this is a good and productive way to pay their debt to society...and learn productive skills.

I believe these videos show that we really can take steps to repair the damage from our misdeeds, including freshwater depletion and any anthropogenic climate change, although it will take time, effort and good local planning.


linda said...

Thanks for this link! Very exciting. I also wonder why prisoners are not being used as productive members of our society while imprisoned. It seems to me to be an obvious solution to many issues.
I recently became aware of an urban farm here in Chicago (name evades me at the moment) which sprung up on torn down housing project land (another story), that takes ex prisoners and teaches them the skills necessary and then sells produce at the farmers market. This is a very hopeful sign in a city such as this. But it is something that uses people who have served their time, not while in prison and it is the only one of its kind in a city full of ex convicts. We need more!

SoapBoxTech said...

This kind of practice is certainly something I would want to see done very carefully. For one thing, the incarceration industry has become so profitable as it is privatized in the US...this kind of activity IS happening, but not in what I would call a positive way. Now, these private incarceration corporations have become large supporters of the `War on Drugs` in order to maximize profits from incarceration AND labor for building roads and such. This is exactly the wrong practice, just as it would be if it were the state`s method as well.

It continues to amaze me how greed and lust for power can mutate good ideas into these mockeries.

However, I am uplifted by the grassroots organizations such as you mention.

Thanks for the comments!

linda said...

Sadly, you are correct. But like so many other issues, I don't foresee positive change on the horizon. Criminals are marginalized to put it simply so general society isn't going to make the exploitation of that population a priority. I have known former prisoners and I do know how difficult it is to get their lives back once they are out so when I came across that information it thrilled me. There is a video somewhere that I will find because the participants speak about how the program changed their lives. I will look around for it.