Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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9 Nov 2005

Permaculture and Peak Oil…

I always enjoy Maddy Harland’s editorials in the Permaculture Magazine, and this new issue’s (No.46) is no different. This latest issue has a distinct Peak Oil flavour, with articles by Colin Campbell, David Holmgren and myself. I want to point out the last paragraph of the editorial, as I think it sets out very well, as does David Holmgren’s fantastic article in the same issue, how permaculture and peak oil are coming together in a very dynamic and exciting way. I think that peak oil is what permaculture has been waiting for, and that the peak oil movement desperately needs permaculture. I think we have come of age, and need to ramp permaculture up to the next level.

Maddy writes,

>We are on the brink of a systems breakdown. The old ways are simply not sustainable, not for us now or fo any generation to come. Our present culture is bringing a metaphoric as well as possibly a literal winter of such severity and suffering that we have to change. So what can we do? We need to face reality and see these challenges as opportunities.
> Whilst studying Peak Oil and watching the world’s news, I have been imagining a different future: one in which most city trees are edible species; where the majority and rural and urban land is given to growing food and fuel; where areas of wilderness are honoured and protected; where human and animal waste is converted into fertile soil; where small scale horticulture and agriculture is no longer the work of a marginalised peasantry but part of a movement for intelligent self-reliance; where every town and village has a portfolio of individual and community renewable energy systems and a local economy; where every settlement is retrofitted for energy conservation; where every new build meets stringent ecological standards; where every community resource is designed in relation to meeting the needs of its people; where every possible resource is renewed before it is considered for recycling.
> This to me is not a wintery world of scarcity and energy poverty, it is a world of diversity, self-reliance, real wealth and satisfying creativity. In short, it is ‘mainstream’ permaculture, the macrocosm of the world you will find in this magazine”.


Permaculture Magazine can be ordered from, and is essential reading.

Categories: Peak Oil, Permaculture

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1 Comment

Serge Shpin
11 Mar 10:57pm

From what I have read about permaculture and peak oil I see that as a single individuum it is impossible to survive such a calamity. Does not matter what a nice permacultured lot he has got it can be always expropriated by some other folks or ruined by something else. The vision the author displayed above is not possible at this stage. Most of the people I talk to never heard of peak oil, permaculture.
The truth is that most of people are ignorant. The are going around their small business and care very little about the future which in case of Peak oil can be quite close.
I believe that one of the ways to succed is of course to organize together all those who have similar beliefes and goals. To try to move to the country and enter some sort of neighborhood is not going to work for most. There can be too deep differences. I believe that organization must be set up which should start organizing, preparing, promoting new ways, getting capital and also setting a permaculture based communities. It should be done with keeping eye on turning all operations into commercial ones to actually being able to provide not only communities but leave some for the markets.
I would like to point to Lenin’s words, when he paraphrased Arhimedes:” Give us an organization of revolutionaries and we will turn Russia around”. Well, they did it. I believe, despite negative consequences later, the way bolshevics reached their goals should be studied by green/ permaculture/ peak oil / whatever communities, for all them are too ammorphous and without plan short and long term, discipline and some single-mindidness
the goals set in the above article cannot be reached.