Permaculture in the New York Times

Check out this article that ran in today’s New York Times: Permaculture Emerges from Underground.

Interesting that permaculture is appearing in the mainstream media. On the one hand, I’m encouraged to see that this information is getting out there, while on the other I find myself skeptical of permaculture’s compatibility with the New York Times.

Of course, permaculture design principles can be applied to any landscape, but they cannot be applied to any end, or purpose. You could not, for example, do a permaculture design for a bomb factory or a CAFO*. The purpose of such places is antithetical to permaculture ethics and design principles.

The mainstream media is so thoroughly intertwined with the dominant modes of production and consumption that it could never take up, or maintain for very long, a coherent critique of the fossil-fueled, industrial world.

We can count, therefore, on coverage of permaculture and other radical alternatives only in isolated stories, usually tucked safely away in human interest columns.

It’s up to each of us to bring it into the world.


*CAFO – Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation

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1 Response to Permaculture in the New York Times

  1. tk says:

    Thanks for that article, Ben!

    They said it themselves: “Mr. Mollison, for example, has been permaculture’s leading figure since the late 1970s, and his books have hundreds of thousands of copies. Yet his name has apparently never warranted a mention in this newspaper.”

    While 99.99999% of the New York Times’ audience probably won’t “get it”, I think they did an excellent job portraying this infinitely-faceted art/science/human-co-created-microcosm-of-life that somehow fits under the single term “permaculture”. They covered A LOT and were able to make many references to help the lay consumer of the NYT’s relate. They provided good follow-up resources, as well.

    If .00001% of the readers of this article a year from now are smelling compost and smiling(like John Coffey in The Green Mile amidst his midnight shirk) that they deposited into their own humanure system today, the world will be a better place. 🙂

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