Untamed Unmasking of Permaculture

To Rewild

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?..

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Civilization will collapse, this is quite certain to come, https://www.disclose.tv/new-report-sees-a-world-in-social-breakdown-and-outright-chaos-in-2050-368726, wildlife will come back then without human planning. Until then the best we can do is live in sustainable ways with the least demand from the environment.

Upon attempting to read your article, I feel that you are trying far too hard to sound very smart, while ultimately coming off in a very confusing and convoluted way. I would encourage you to rethink how you write. Folks are not going to read your work if if it’s a headache and a half to try to understand what you’re trying to say. Using large words and lengthy, convoluted comparisons may be great for a research paper or for academia, but if you’re trying to showcase your articles to the general public such as here, I feel it may be prudent to “dumb it down”, as it were and try to think of how you can use analogies and more commonplace language to portray your thoughts.
Also, I am not sure who you been talking to or where you get your information from about restoration ecology, however I can say from first-hand experience that chemical means of controlling invasives are actually the first line of defense for almost all companies and governments that attempt to rein in the spread of those invasives, especially in the US. While schools, research, and other more progressive means of looking at restoration ecology might prefer to promote non-chemical means of bringing ecosystems back, in the end I’ve heard and seen way too many people just handed a backpack of Roundup and told to go spray everything that they see that they think doesn’t belong…
Not to mention, restoration ecology and its teachings are mainly focused on piecemeal non-holistic ways of going about things. “If I remove plant B, then plant A will obviously have the opportunity to recover!” Is the mode of thinking and restoration ecology. And yes, I have seen this exact approach in a government report that is one of the main resources of the restoration ecology program at a local university. They often fail to recognise the greater social and political impacts at play that led to the ecological imbalance that gave that invasive the opportunity to be there in the first place. They fail to follow the breadcrumbs, in essence. In summation, restoration ecology as an industry is a Band-Aid. A necessary one, but not really an effective one.

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curious_fox_den - I think that’s a bit of an oversimplification. As you alluded to, a restoration project is only successful if it addresses the underlying cause(s) of degradation. Those often include altered hydrology, disrupted disturbance regimes, artificial nutrient additions, or imbalances in predator/prey relationships. However, there are plenty of examples of successful restoration projects that take these into account, then go on to use various methods to remove exotic species and re-introduce native species and their various propagules. Projects that are based solely on spraying indiscriminately are likely to fail. But those that address background problems, exhaust invasive species, and re-introduce natives are often at least partially successful. There is now a perception among the public, however, that these projects are just a vehicle for spending money on chemicals. That may be true some of the time, but I think restoration practitioners and ecologists are getting better at what they do. Your description of restoration ecology is a dramatic misrepresentation of where the science is. I would encourage you to look at the journal Ecological Restoration; its not nearly as basic and ignorant as you describe. I do agree that we need to focus more on underlying causes of ecological harm - and those mostly trace back to colonialism and our ability/willingness to move species around the globe and create conditions that favor them.

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Thanks for your advice on ‘dumbing down’ my writing style for the general public.
The solution to restoration efforts using bad practices does not have to be another paradigm that steers ecological intervention down yet another fundamentally flawed path, such as the enchanted ‘invasives are good’. Compared to the ‘invasives are good’ approach, Restoration Ecology is whole sound science. With the origins of ecosystems’ problems in mind, the science needs to shift goals away from functions servicing domesticated humans. As humans rewild, the effective way toward re-thriving wild would be more people joining in restoring indigenous habitats, confronting and sidestepping agencies so overwhelmed that the only method they can think to use is chemical control. Joining the ‘invasives are good’ path is following a false dream that takes energy away from indigenous remnant regions in need of human energies restoring and expanding them.

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There are people who are helping wildlife right now, restoring their habitats, etc. If we can, why shouldn’t we?

Indeed, my statement was a very simple observation based on many frustrating years of trying to find a path and allies in landscape and ecological restoration that didn’t involve chemical
or small-minded means.
I was serious though about that being the exact conclusion of a report used as a resource for a local Ecological restoration program at a local and very prominent teaching institution. “If we remove the Scotch Broom, then the Garry Oaks will come back!” It was pretty discouraging. I’m glad to hear that other folks in the field are more progressive and holistic in their approaches. I’ll try to find the journal if I have a spare moment.

Have you looked into the scotch broom removal projects in the south Puget Sound prairies? It has actually been very successful. Of course, they also returned fire to the ecosystem and seeded the area with natives. But they’ve turned small patches of scotch broom monoculture into somewhat intact prairie. Removing the invasive species was crucial to their success.

The ecological problems in this world are from humanity, and the programs of humanity. Even well intentioned programs have been creating problems. Civilization overall is not good for the natural world. There are certainly many various concerns of humanity that need to be addressed. But a planetary crisis coming into being is what would override everything. The only way to effectively deal with all the human concerns is to include dealing with the growing situation which is becoming the planetary crisis, it needs as many as possible out of everyone living in simplicity for the most sustainable ways, not in the way of people of civilization, but apart from that.

Without human civilization continuing, natural environments would return and develop, with coming to healthy balances. But any people still around would have to be without civilization, and really be living in needed sustainable ways for that.

Humanity has caused a great deal of devastation, and with so much wildlife still suffering due to it, it seems irresponsible to just leave our mess with magical thinking that nature will take care of our mess. I and others feel compelled to undo and restore what we can.

There are still people practicing the way of wild tending, maintaining indigenous habitats. Permaculture using humanity’s introduced species, with plant and ecosystem behavior knowledge and concern equating to reckless abandon, is not a simplistic, sustainable lifeway, but an enchanted lifeway that continues humans’ harms. It likewise continues the ethos problem of placing man in the middle, and above all others.

When people are accustomed to privilege, mutualistic living among other species can feel daunting or even oppressive to some. Human supremacy is the problem, and the most simple, sustainable lifeway toward reentering the world as one among many, at least that I can think of, draws from both wild tending and restoration ecology.

If you think I was speaking for something with human supremacy in nature I was not. I am also not endorsing use of nonhuman animals. But the way civilization is going it is destructive to the natural world. The only way to help against that is to live the most sustainable way with primitive living apart from civilization growing things around where you are for needed things with least effect on environments and doing nothing with wildlife. It does not help as much to have restoral programs while you and others still participate in civilization. But civilization will still fall, from the instability of it in this world with the destructiveness.