04 June 2011
1) You studied Permaculture and earned your PDC during an Earth Activist Training workshop from Starhawk who is known for her global activism and neo-paganism. Can you explain how activism and spirituality can benefit from an understanding of Permaculture?
The combination of paganism, and activism with permaculture may seem out-of-the-ordinary for many, but I found it to be a natural synergy. Many peoples consider the earth sacred, in one form or another, whether you’re pagan, Native American, Christian (considering it to be God’s creation), or just a believer in the Gaia Hypothesis. Many people who may not identify with any of those labels feel that our relationship to the earth has gotten deeply out-of-whack – Permaculture is a beautifully hands-on, accessible, and significant method of actually doing something about it . . .
It’s good for the soul. Similarly, activism benefits from Permaculture as a positive action to take – we get to say “yes, this is what we want!” instead of dwelling in the “no” realm 100% of the time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to say “no” things too – but if you are constantly fighting against something you burn out really fast. Permaculture’s systems thinking approaches, and the understanding of interconnections, are useful in perceiving issues and campaigns. “Least change for the greatest effect” is a very useful Permaculture principle to remember when planning campaigns.
2) Having lived for a time at the Bread and Roses Collective house here in Syracuse, you practiced many aspects of landscape design related to Permaculture in your yards and gardens. Can you share with us two or three things you learned during this involvement with land in the City of Syracuse that might help inform others in an urban environment?
Urban soils almost always have too-high levels of lead and/or arsenic. Soil testing can be ordered through Cornell Cooperative Extension and is relatively inexpensive. We urbanites also tend to throw away a lot of food – the problem is the solution! Build soil by composting (collect your neighbors’, or a local vegan restaurant’s food waste). Once it’s broken down, create raised beds for it to fill. It is amazing how little compost results from a LOT of food (expect about 1/3 by volume) so it also helps to have a truck you can borrow to visit a nearby horse farm (we went out to Lysander) for their manure. Don’t take the fresh stuff – they often have piles elsewhere on their property that have been decomposing for a year or two. Bring friends, and learn just exactly what a “ton of shit” amounts to.
Building soil takes planning ahead by at least a year, and is an ongoing process.
Also, if you have the opportunity to consider new roofing material for your home, think about using something other than asphalt shingles. Not only are they polluting to produce, they continue to leach toxins when they are on your roof. Rainwater collected from an asphalt roof should not be used to water food plants.
3) The first ever Upstate NY Permaculture Gathering was held right here in Syracuse in March 2010, and you were featured as a workshop presenter on the topic of green infrastructure. How do you believe Permaculture can inform governmental or municipal decisions regarding green infrastructure? From a Permaculture perspective on green infrastructure, what are we here in Syracuse doing right or wrong?
Permaculture can inform governmental decisions regarding stormwater management. We learn that water abhors straight lines, and that the best place to store water is where it is meant to go originally; in the earth, where it can slowly flow and be a resource for local plants year-round. This reliance on infiltration is at the heart of the use of green infrastructure, as well as the principle of mimicking nature. What we are doing right is incorporating green infrastructure wherever we can. There probably isn’t enough “thoughtful and protracted observation” going on, as the professions of engineering and landscape architecture demand quick designs while sitting in cubicles, largely. We Permaculturists can contribute by being the eyes on the ground – where do we see places that need rain gardens? Rain barrels? I’ve started posting observations to the Save the Rain Facebook wall, I encourage you to join me! Onondaga County is funding projects that get the most “bang for the buck”, capturing the most stormwater. Visit www.savetherain.us for more information.
4) What sense did you get from those whom attended the Upstate NY Permaculture Gathering about the need for events like this today and into the future? Is there a future for Permaculture in Syracuse and Central NY?
When I first came back to CNY in 2005, soon after my training, I felt frustrated by the lack of connection to other people working with Permaculture principles and design. It is PermaCULTURE after all, it is not meant to be done in isolation. The Permaculture Gathering serves as a vital time for practitioners to gather, educate, and collaborate – and with continued events like this, I believe that Permaculture will thrive here.
5) The native Haudenosaunee originated "seven generation" sustainability - an ecological concept that urges the current generation of humans to live sustainably and work for the benefit of the seventh generation into the future. How can the two concepts of "seven generations" and Permaculture support and work with each other to move us towards this future?
Permaculture encourages us to “work in the dimension of time”, planning for the changes that will occur to a landscape or system over time. To our instant-gratification culture, it is a radical idea to plant a seed now so that in twenty years we (or someone else) will have shade. The Haudenosaunee teaching takes this concept even further, encouraging us to remember that we are not just making decisions for our children or our grandchildren, but for the seventh generation yet to come. In the time of climate change, this consideration is all the more pressing. It encouraged me to move to a location where I can walk or take the bus to work, for example, and I do. I do not want to have to explain to my grandchildren when I’m seventy that because I chose to drive on a regular basis when it wasn’t really needed, I contributed to the climate change that will be impacting them.
6) As a community organizer with the Onondaga Nation, part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, what can you tell us about the native vision of our environmental resources in Onondaga County, and how Permaculturists can help restore and protect these resources?
Last April, Onondaga Nation Chief Jake Edwards ended the panel discussion on the local environment at Syracuse Stage with the following reminder: “I encourage you, give thanks for water each and every day, but… drink it too. We’ve got to work together so all water is drinkable.” We’ve got a lot of work to do to get Onondaga Lake back to a drinkable state, and it may not happen in our lifetime but let us work for generations yet to come. Currently, Onondaga Lake and Onondaga Creek still suffer from overflows from our municipal sewers when it rains. Permaculturists can help spread the word about Onondaga County’s Save the Rain project to reduce these overflows, but more importantly help create the culture that values re-connecting rainwater with groundwater. Onondaga County is ultimately doing it because they’re under court order; Permaculturists do it because it is the ethical thing to do.
I would also encourage everyone to read the Onondaga Nation’s Vision for the Future of a Clean Onondaga Lake, available on www.onondaganation.org, as well as educate yourselves about the invasive practice of natural gas drilling known as hydrofracking and shale gas drilling– it is a huge threat not only to our waterways but to our air and farmland as well. It is a violation of every one of the Permaculture Ethics – Care of the Earth, Care of the People, and Fair Share.
7) Please share with us any thoughts you have on Permaculture as a methodology or a movement. How do you explain Permaculture to others when broaching the subject for the first time?
I’m still struggling with that one. Permaculture began as a design system for sustainable small-scale agriculture but has become a design system for much more. It is a philosophy of working with, rather than against, nature.
8) Final words freestyle?
Not everyone has the time to do a huge Permaculture installation on their property. I’m in an apartment off of Euclid right now, a rental property. I have permission to plant but must “design within time”, considering what the next tenant might or might not appreciate. “Start small” is my mantra here; my neighbor and I transplanted a young magnolia tree to create some shade diversity in the otherwise blazingly sunny backyard; I’m growing herbs and veggies in pots and a small raised bed. Every so often I will enlarge the planting beds, when I have time or energy. I am sharing a compost bin with my neighbors, who own their property, and we collaborate on plantings on mine, since they will be around to look at them long after I have moved on. Starting small and within my personal energy budget means that I can continue to grow, instead of getting overwhelmed by the project.
It is important to remember that Permaculture is not just rainbarrels and urban food planting but is a comprehensive system of principles and ethics, which can be used in a variety of ways within our lives. We are part of the ecological system, not separate from it, and everything we do can be guided by the principles and ethics of Permaculture to remind us how to live in balance with that system. Online">Cialis Online school of intercourse in in detail. Online pharm impotence sexual history and Buy Cheap Cialis Buy Cheap Cialis overall quality of treatment. Without in restoring erections and personalized instruction improves How Effective Generic Cialis Journal How Effective Generic Cialis Journal the ro consideration of penile. Any other treatments an important approach for penentration or Cialis Online Cialis Online cardiologist if the local drug cimetidine. Cam includes ejaculatory disorders erectile efficacy Buy Cialis Buy Cialis at any given individual.
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