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1) I start this presentation with a picture of plants breaking through asphalt and growing in impossible situations because, like this quackgrass, permaculture breaks through the current economic, political, and social systems we live in. It is a revolution that meets human needs with the power of the earth rather than against it. 2) In trying to find a lifestyle that benefits humans and ecosystems, it is important to go back to the beginning and ask ourselves, ‘what does it mean to be human?’ As these children grow up, what will actually make them happy? The next few slides I’ll quickly be going through, show how the current system meets our needs in ways that may or may not be helpful for us and the earth 3) Food. Grocery stores. Often packaged and traveling long distances to get here. For example, the winter before this one I walked into a Trader Joe’s and nearly all of the shelves were empty just because a snowstorm was blocking I-5. If we have to rely on a system of corporations, public subsidies, and transportation to feed us, it may not take very many gliches in that system to make a lot of people very hungry. Also, packaged food may be of questionable nutritional quality, causing conditions in the long run which could severely affect us. 4) Shelter. Most of the buildings we live and work in have been designed to meet short-term economic goals but are often incongruous with this particular place on the earth and the people who live here. Many building materials are toxic or require experts to maintain them. 5) Transportation. When we design for cars we often design for miserable situations. High gas prices. Pollution. Car-centric places like Aurora that are disgusting to walk through. As well as personal stress from commuting, and political stress throughout the world in feeding our appetite for oil. 6) Waste. Although Seattle is a lot better than other places, we still generate Huge amounts of garbage that the city has to pay a lot of money to get rid of. Also, the sewer in this city handles both rainwater, and greywater (from our sinks and showers), and blackwater (from toilets). When everything is mixed together, it means when it rains a lot we have unprocessed waste overflowing straight into the Sound. This picture is from Union Bay near Laurelhurst. 7) Security. What makes us feel safe in this culture? Money. But is money actually safe, especially when ‘Success’ to the average American ends up translating as, ‘being really really in debt?’ (house, car, credit card bills). And is that success worth us spending the majority of our lives trying to achieve? 8) I threw in this picture to also show another form of security in this culture. Lots of Stuff. 9) What enables us to acquire all this stuff? Industry, and often industry in poor neighborhoods or regions. This is a picture of South Seattle where there are 35 facilities or more releasing toxic waste, PCB’s found at 100 times the normal level, and a Superfund site. Also, the other picture is of a melting glacier, because so many of our human activities are now causing changes in the climate. So this picture is just to get everything all out in the open. 10) Is it just population? Yes, but no. As you graduate and start traveling the world pay attention to how cities and regions are designed. In the states we tend to design first for the car, and second for people. Here I tried to get pics of pierce county (top), dolj county in Romania (below), and the island country of Cyprus. All 3 have exactly the same population. It was really difficult researching exact numbers for how the land is used differently, but my guess is from my own travels that Romania has a couple cities, lots of villages, lots of farmland. Cyprus has a few cities, lots of villages, and lots of open space. And Pierce County, a lot of urban sprawl. 11) Humans of course aren’t evil or stupid, they just haven’t been designing systems that work very well. We are just trying to meet our needs, we are very much a part of the ecosystems of the earth, and especially in this western ‘progress oriented’ culture, I feel personally, we just don’t know How to actually make ourselves happy. 12) So, environmentalists. Don’t environmentalists want everyone to never ever buy anything and just sit at home in the dark? I add this picture of my friend Sam Bullock, who does, by the way, not usually dress like this, because I learned from him and his family so much about living with the earth in a fun, relaxed way. Before I showed up at his farm on Orcas Island, I was nervous that people there were so ‘pure’ that they never, for example ate ice cream cones or watched kung fu movies. To my delight I found that they did. They would just bike to the store to get locally-made ice cream. And when they watch kung fun movies, the TV is powered by solar panels and a wind generator. 13) So, what is permaculture and why does it matter? Permaculture is a design system that builds homes, farms, cities, or lifestyles, in harmony with the earth’s ecosystem, including humans as a vital part of that ecosystem. We can use water from our kitchen sinks to irrigate the herbs that we use for cooking. We can collect electricity from the sun, and use that electricity to send emails that build protections for the earth. We are connected. Although there are many tools and techniques in permaculture, what makes it work is its ethics. There are just 3. 14) 1. Care for the Earth. We are creatures of the earth and can live without harming it. This picture is of the ‘daylighting’ of Ravenna creek. Why run the water through underground pipes when, if restored, it is reconnected with the environment and re-creates habitat for wildlife and its humans? 15) 2. Care for the People. We are perfectly capable of designing systems where everyone has something to share and everyone’s true needs can be met. These are pictures from Garden Raised Bounty in Olympia. It’s a group that builds gardens for lower income families so that everyone can have access to fresh, organic food, not just the upper classes. 16) 3. Share the Surplus. When we create systems that are truly secure for us, we decrease our need for the false security of greed. In a lot of situations it may benefit us more to share our surplus than to spend the energy holding onto it. 17) So now Im just going to run through human needs again, this time focusing on solutions that may work better. Food. It’s good to remember that if something is important to us it should be available close to us. Food grown close to home is fresher and safer economically and environmentally than food grown far from us by people or corporations who do not know us. This is the U-District farmers market, which has food from growers in Washington state. 18) Again, get food as close as possible. This is a lousy picture, but something really cool is going on here. Chris, with his back to us owns a restaurant, Marcus is selling him food fresh from the his farm, Brandon in the background is a customer who is about to eat it. Minimal transportation. Money supports each other. Very simple. Chances are, at McDonalds you will find quite a different system. 19) Yes, Im going to talk about food a lot. Permaculturists just love food and we talk about it all the time. Here is a picture of a house in U-Village area where the people living there get their food even closer than the market, they grow it themselves. See how they’re growing food in what used to be the driveway? 20) And here is what’s called ‘edible landscaping’. These tree companions are parsley, chives, chamomile, dill, oregano, day lilies. If a plant looks good in our yards and already requires water, it might as well give something back to us like food. 21) These pictures are from my friend Marisha’s place. She likes minimal work and lots of food, so she grows a lot of plants that are perennials, meaning they live for many years, and also a lot of plants that replant and take care of themselves. Any time of the year she can harvest. She also has chickens, although you cant see them here, for eggs and meat. And by the way, chickens are totally acceptable to have in the city and a lot of people are doing it. In this picture, although its hard to see food through the jungle: Marisha has kale, leeks, cauliflower, parsley, lettuce, raspberries, apples, plums, etc. and Lots of medicinal herbs. 22) Seedballs. This is a handy technique for dispersing food and plants easily. Roll up some favorite seeds with compost and clay and they make handy little packets that can be easily thrown into the yard or in vacant lots around the city. The clay protects the seeds from being eaten by birds, and when there is enough rainwater present for the seeds to germinate, the clay softens and falls apart. 23) Shelter. Here I may be repeating what Elliot said earlier, but basically you want shelter to be something that doesn’t hurt the ecosystem, with materials from the area, and that can be easily built and maintained. And beautiful. This and the other natural buildings that follow are made by a man who lives in the Skagit named Sunray Kelly. 24) The building on the left is made from strawbales, earthen plaster, with a living roof. Not only does the strawbale and greenroof keep the house well insulated, the greenroof also cleans rainwater and is another home for plants. The home on the right is made from cob and other materials gathered onsite. 25) Orientation of a building makes a big difference and is an easy way for structures in the city to make more sense to the humans that live in them. Both of these buildings face South, to get lots of sunlight and save on heating costs. The house is made by Sunray, the other is the PCC in Fremont. 26) Fuel. As you guys have just learned all about, there are a lot of options for creating the fuel that we need. First is to just conserve by having buildings and other technologies designed well. And then, Here is a picture of biodiesel, and the other is of a sustainably managed forest. Here in the northwest we are lucky to have such a renewable resource handy, and often available salvaged. Forestry Can in fact be done very sustainably. 27) Energy. Slightly different from fuel because a smart design can just get the job done without fuel or electricity. In this picture the big silvery thing to the left is facing the morning sun and cooking food inside. The tubes in the background are facing south to receive sun all day long and are heating up water for the kitchen 28) This is a solar dehydrator. A fridge painted black with a heat collector at the bottom and a chimney out the top to move hot air up. A great way to dry fruit through the summertime. 29) To generate electricity its becoming smarter to just make it where its needed, like the new parking meters around town do. Also, why waste roof space when you could have a solar array and have the city pay You for the electricity you create. 30) Also in this climate, energy can be gathered from the wind, picture on the left, although very difficult to see up in the treetops. Electricity can also be gathered from water or even the tides, as the diagram on the right shows. 31) Transportation. Good design focuses on access rather than transportation. Having things close enough to walk or bike will always be the easiest way to meet our needs, Sadly, walking is nearly impossible or at least very unpleasant to do in average strip-mall type sprawl. 32) And of course, all sorts of other fun ways to get around. Bikes, skateboards. 33) Sailboats, busses, trains (which by the way can be run off biodiesel). 34) Waste. Reduce it. Easy enough to do, there is so much stuff in this culture it also means there is so much stuff that can be reused. 35) Also, we can waste less resources with some forethought. This is a bad picture, but the Phinney Neighborhood Center catches rainwater from its roof, stores it in the tanks you can kind of see under the deck, and then uses it for flushing the toilets. That way clean, drinkable water doesn’t have to be wasted in toilets. The King Street Center downtown also does this. 36) Deal with it smartly. These worms compost my kitchen scraps, and then I use the compost to grow more plants. This under-the-sink picture is a friend of mine’s piping of his kitchen sink’s greywater to go outside into a reedbed which then waters plants in his backyard. 37) And human waste! Its been composting safely for thousands of years. But I wont talk about that too much here, unless you guys are interested.... 38) Security. Security often actually comes from a local safety net of people who support each other. One way to do that economically is through alternative currencies and barter that make sense no matter what the stockmarket does. The Seattle examples of currencies are timebucks (mostly an online barter tool), seavu (a tradable currency), and yet-to-be-accomplished but a good idea, a psychedelic chocolate-backed money system created by our very own ‘the messenger’ 39) True security also comes from governance that makes sense. When people in an area know each other and are used to working and talking together, they can be well informed about political and social decisions effecting them. A sustainable culture encourages public spaces where people can talk and learn and act, as the best form of civics. 40) And Here almost in closing, are some pictures of the Microsoft campus and the Boeing campus, just to remind us that we as humans are plenty smart enough. What may need to shift in this culture is not our intelligence, but intelligence used with our hearts. Care for the earth, care for the people, and share the surplus. It would fundamentally change the way everything is done. 41) And here’s a picture of a cobb-oven pizza feed. Local materials, fuels, food. sustainably and beautifully done. As a friend of mine says ‘ well if you’ve got your food, and you’ve got your shelter, then there’s plenty of time for just chillin’

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Page last modified on July 06, 2006, at 05:40 PM