Just beneath a thick cracking veneer of denial modern humans sense the end throes of civilization. Many compliantly follow the herd sacrificing their lives as fodder for the insatiable beast. Some shed pseudo-life bypassing the leviathan, looking to pre-civ for ways to live feral in collapsing-civ and inevitable post-civ. Being that noncommercial sustenance will be needed in the shifting biota-scape, permaculture is pitching a sale to transitioning rewilders.
Does the pitch reflect the way of wild? While some permaculturists collaterally include a premise of innate compassion for wildlife, does the overarching paradigm remain supreme man in the middle of his designed environment, even incorporating nonindigenous life? Does ‘all plants play an ecological role’ rationale in homesteading permaculture signal acquiescence to humans unrelenting dominating and manipulating the world on their terms? Restorer of native wildlife habitats Benjamin Vogt calls for humans empathetically reconnecting with wilderness by actively reviving local wild lands:
Our gardens are places of arrogance and alienation. We are a species very much alone in the world, trying to find an intimate, stabilizing connection we once had with other species. But somehow we are unable to give ourselves to the rather simple communication of empathy, compassion, and shared fate. In our gardens, we may show the greatest alienation, placing plants how and where we want and using species unrecognizable to wildlife. In our gardens, then, is arrogance- that we matter more, that our passions and loves, our losses and agonies, are separate and even superior to those of other species. While our gardens could ideally function as bridges between our world and the worlds of an infinite number of lives, too often they are walls of hubris and human-made disorder we impose upon a world already ordered to maximum benefit through millions of years of trial and error. What we wish to improve upon may be our own human-made alienation as creatures who struggle with an ethics that must encompass not just different races and creeds, but also animals, plants, and fungi. In a world of climate change and mass extinction, intimate gardens out our back door might be the best places to generate a landscape ethic that evolves into an activist-based global ethic of creation care for all life. 1
Whether logically or emotionally, is permaculture intention for rewilding intrinsically breeched with use of nonindigenous species being naïve at best, insensible at worst?..