Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Australian Permaculture Survey and Diversity

This morning I was emailed the Permaculture Australia Survey.

As I went through the questions - I could feel myself getting more and more frustrated.

This survey aims to understand what Permaculture could look like from a National Perspective. That is, unifying the Australian face of this movement and presenting a common body to represent where Permaculture started.

The differences imbeded in how the movement has spread is seen in this light as a disadvantage; "... We saw this as holding the voice of Permaculture back in its country of origin at a time when the word 'sustainability' was on everyone's lips. Permaculture defines 'sustainability' yet our enormous grassroots efforts were not having much impact for a lack of unity" (John Champagne on behalf of the Amigo Troika).

Why it frustrates me - is that I have seen this happen in the field of Yoga and it has created a narrowing and a stiffness rather than a deepening and growth. The number of hoops and the cost involved in order to be "accredited" in something that is an ancient wisdom and was once passed down through an oral tradition of initiation, is now beyond belief and stops a huge populations from exploring, sharing and developing their practice. Not to mention the commercialization and lack of authenticity which now prevails yoga - it is an industry as it stands and no longer a spiritual science.

What I am interested in is seeing the diversity that has emerged from David Holmgren and Bill Mollison's conception of Permaculture as an advantage - rather than a disadvantage. The fact that these two Firebrands are now operating in different circles is testimony to the fact that you can't put Permaculture - or any ideology that advocates for human exploration and diversification into one neat and tidy box.

Why does it make us soo uncomfortable when two people agree to disagree and part ways? It takes a great deal of courage and much deeper respect to be honest and not force many pieces into the one whole. It creates new possibilites and deepens the mystery.

Just a small exert from an article on this topic and also a link if you would like to take part in the survey ...

Diversity in Organizations
By Craig Hickman

An abundance of diversity exists in nature until it's altered. An untouched acre of ground in Maine, for example, may contain up to 10,000 different varieties of tree and plant life. Such diversity is not only inspiring and beautiful, but also ecologically robust. If you were to level an unharmed acre of ground in Maine, removing all indigenous plant life and then letting it sit untouched, new growth would bring less than 10 percent of the former diversity in terms of tree and plant life. The trees and plants that first gain root in the newly leveled ground would dominate the space, preventing additional diversity from developing. Once removed, diversity rarely returns on its own. The uniformity mandate of the dominant species makes it impossible for diversity to flourish naturally. The lesson for modern organizations and their management teams is obvious: Diversity must be carefully and constantly nurtured, because creating an organization is a lot like leveling ground. Both activities create new space where the initial staffing or first species will attempt to dominate and control diversity. The very act of establishing and staffing an organization begins a process of limiting diversity, unless diversity is genuinely valued and vigilantly nurtured. Diversity by definition is the attempt to bring together competing interests into a single whole, Without constant nourishment, vibrant and productive diversity will eventually fade into ineffective, unfulfilling uniformity. Organizations with high levels of uniformity are ineffective and stagnant -- ultimately producing inbred corporate cultures that lack the new perspectives, pioneering capabilities and fresh ideas necessary to survive. That is the curse of uniformity.




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