Saturday, 26 March 2011

Permaculture 5

Unfortunately, the word technopeasant is already taken, because otherwise it would be a good word to describe my aspirations.

Frank Herbert describes it like this:

"A sophisticated human can become primitive. What this really means is that the human's way of life changes. Old values change, become linked to the landscape with its plants and animals. This new existence requires a working knowledge of those multiples and cross-linked events usually referred to as nature. It requires a measure of respect for the inertial power within such natural systems. When a human gains this working knowledge and respect, that is called 'being primitive'."

What you see happening in nature is that other animals don't defend their territory from their competitors that are different species. Humans break this "rule" as a matter of course. The inertial power, the linkages, then suggest the idea of stewardship to rebalance this lack of sharing. Permaculturist call this zone 5: if you net your cabbages you need to include a wild zone in your territory for the pigeons. I think it also means, in a year with a small apple harvest, that between the time that the apples are all eaten and the raspberries are ripe the only fruit I will eat are the small amounts of rhubarb and strawberries I grow. That there are enough other things to eat if a crop is less prolific one year: since it's not actually a hungry gap I'd call it the temporal zone 5.

And linked to that abundance of options, I think a peasant would have a working knowledge of the links between the amount of land there is for each person, lean years and overpopulation, and therefore value the one child family, of elemental cycles and value the composting toilet, in short: have a sustainable ecological footprint.

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