Tuesday 26 October 2010

6. Eliminate the concept of

The picture is of my two recycling bins. Both of them were last emptied when I moved into my present house on 28 June 2008. The left one contains things that South Norfolk presently recycles. What you don't see is the ~30 glass bottles I have taken to the bottle bank over that time, because they don't get collected here. And you also don't see much paper, which I use to start my woodburner (the ash goes to fertilise my plants and the charcoal also goes into the soil as a long-lived carbon store and it's also said to act as a slow release nutrient absorber). The right one contains my hopefulls. I think ~90% of this could be recycled now, and I'd be quite happy to separate them into different types of plastic if I could then go and deliver them to my local recycling centre. I'm hoping that this will become possible before it becomes too difficult to stuff more into this bin.

One of the people who has been thinking about how to do this, and in particular how to design our manufacturing so that it becomes the technosphere, the way that the collective of ecosystems make up the biosphere, is William McDonough.
He and his company formulated the Hannover principles in 1991 (see the title of this blog post). He's a designer and though he does not claim an affiliation with permaculture, when he talks of Thomas Jefferson and the American constitution saying "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", I had the same discovery moment as he mentions at 25:51 when I realised that's the same as permaculture ethics: Earthcare, fair shares and people care. The American constitution. There's hope yet.

Here's a small taster of what he has to say: "... and you can't say that it's not part of your plan that these things are going to happen, because it's part of your de facto plan. It's the thing that is happening because you have no plan". I'd like to invite everybody for some Alchemy 3 soup (don't worry, I didn't actually get any pumpkins out of the Alchemy 1 and 2 box, so the connection is more a matter of intention than of actual nutrient cycling, and closing the cycle is not compulsory either) at 7, watching William McDonough's talk (to the Bioneer conference in 2000) at 8 (people who can't make it for dinner welcome), followed by discussion. If you're interested, fill in the doodle.

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