Friday, February 22, 2013

going rogue

So, after long absences, I am attempting to get back to writing here and sharing with those of you (dear to me) readers who are -- if not exactly interested -- curious about what I am doing and what I might be thinking. Let's see what happens!

I am trying very hard to stay on course and complete the readings and assignments of my Permaculture Course, as well as trying not to be fascinated by the distracting updates on twitter or facebook, visiting odd and intriguing sites around the topics that interest me, continuing my reading on Ecological Economics.

Just so I'm as honest as I can be with you, I attended exactly one class on Ecological Economics (via VillageVancouver), but found it over my head, especially as I couldn't imagine how, with my shaky grasp of the subject(s), I could possibly make any positive contribution to the projects which were to be the focus of the 6-month course, ie specific projects focused on participating in local, provincial and national governance, hearings, etc in issues us environmentalists find dear to our hearts.

So back to my Permaculture Design Course, the one with which I am more or less on course. The big one in terms of assignments is the mapping and design project on our own space.

I live in a condo in an iffy regenerating part of the disreputable growing city of Surrey. 'nough said? Oh there's probably more. I get riled up about the design plans for my area, particularly the plan to lose the dozens of beautiful mature trees in this corner of the city.

As so far, my absolute favorite class has been the one on trees (guaranteed to hear more from me on trees later!), I mourn the loss of the trees and what they contribute to our environment.

But again, I digress. My mapping project started like this. It represents a legal possible design that stays within the confines of my balcony. A provoking sugggestion from one of my friends made me consider going rogue and expanding to the rock-blanketed ledge that goes around the building outside the perimeter of my condo unit (and therefore also outside the actual boundaries -- real and imagined -- of my personal balcony!)

So here's the possibly illegal rogue design that takes advantage of the borrowed space on the ledge outside my balcony:
I submitted these designs to an informal vote for my friends on facebook and those who thought it interesting enough to vote opted for the rogue design! So there you have it, folks. That's the design I'm submitting for my Permaculture Design Course.

More details and progress to follow.Stay tuned (for when I possibly run afoul of strata rules and am taken away to jail??)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


"Because the relationship between self and world is reciprocal, it is not a matter of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the Earth, the Earth heals us."~~Joanna Macy

I want this post to be one of gratitude! Through my permie course, I am getting to know an amazing group of people with a diverse range of experiences and viewpoints. They are also hooking me up with super-interesting (I acknowledge that assessment is relative to my personal point of view) resources and happenings around the city and around the world.

So here in random order is some of the stuff they have helped me find or expand my knowledge of:

Songza, now a regular part of the sound-track to my day when I'm home, working, reading, working out, checking out updates on twitter and facebook, daydreaming, knitting, cooking or whatever. (note strange omission of housework)

Occupy Love, awesome documentary about a new paradigm for a post-peak-oil world

the kraut guy, the guru of fermented foods, Sandor Katz.

a new appreciation of kale

anticipation of tea with Toby as often as possible (the amazing golden bird -- more on her later)

mushroom expert, Paul Stamets:

Joanna Macy, deep ecology, buddhist thought and environmental activism

Toby Hemenway and permaculture as a design approach that fits into a larger philosophy and approach

Charles Eisenstein and Sacred Economics, a short film by Ian MacKenzie and more information about Charles Eisenstein's ideas

local currencies and seed stock

The biggest thing the group is helping me personally with is letting go of the anger I've been carrying around for a while at the state of things in the world and the agony of grief I've been experiencing for the loss of our natural environments. This group is giving me hope that there is a tipping point, that as our world of peak-oil collapses, there is a way, a design strategy and an energy of positivity, inclusiveness, sharing and growth that is already happening!