David Holmgren: Thoughts on the eve of the 50th Permablitz
We’re honoured to have the following thoughts on permablitz from David Holmgren, co-originator of the permaculture concept.
The political and environmental activism of the 1960’s & early 70’s focused on resisting injustice, environmental destruction and the threat of nuclear annihilation. For both myself and Mollison, permaculture was unapologetically about creating the world we did want rather than resistance. While we recognised the moral imperative and history behind the struggles of ordinary people to resist oppression and destruction by centralised power, we understood that resistance could do little, if anything, of a creative nature. Permaculture, as a design system is constructive and creative with closer connections to artistic and entrepreneurial enterprise that to political activism focused on resistance and assertion of rights. These associations have led many observers and critics to conclude that permaculture is just another expression of individualist culture; essentially private activity within an alternative lifestyle.But in describing permies as activists I have reinforce the name of the longest running permaculture publication founded by Peter Bane, The Permaculture Activist. This connection to political and environmental activism is deliberate. Most of those who are at the forefront of pioneering the new ways of living with, and from nature that characterise permaculture lifestyle, are usually communicators and change agents through their local communities and global networks.Permablitz is a dynamic new expression of this lineage in permaculture activism, where permies use the enthusiasm generated by Permaculture Design Courses, to stimulate direct action to retrofit houses and gardens for greater self reliance and pleasure while eliminating waste and environmental impact. By collective and collaborative action permablitz simultaneously attacks apathy and lack of resources and skills to give homemakers the boost along the path of self reliance and minimal ecological footprint. Permablitz allows new designers to gain experience by working with colleagues, homemakers and helpers.Most significantly, permablitz is a force in reclaiming the suburbs, as the primary field of Australian permaculture activism. The permaculture movement began in the suburbs of Melbourne and other capital cities in the late 1970’s, but by the mid 1980’s, the action had moved to more remote rural areas as the culture of consumerism and greed in mainstream Australia made the suburbs a toxic environment for permaculture. Informed and strengthened by its experience in the geographic and social hinterlands, permaculture activism is now ready to reclaim Australian suburban landscapes and culture as the Energy Descent future of resource scarcity and climatic instability turns consumerist culture to compost. Permablitz is on the frontline.
Holmgren Design Services – www.holmgren.com.au