What does permaculture have to do with politics?

Maddy Harland & the Permaculture Team brilliantly and courageously address this challenging and extremely pertinent question in the 2016 Autumn editorial.

The editorial exposed the mainstream media’s Orwellian role in shaping distorted world views and spinning political / cultural submission to mammon. Maddy asked us to “stand back from our current economic and political system and seek true democracy” or  face destruction.

If we can rise to the challenge and make time to reflect on what “lies in plain sight” – both the blatant dishonesty of our rulers and the reality of their rapacious, bankrupt, corrupt,  destructive status quo – then, and only then, the amazing potential for a just, enriching, ecological respectful “permaculture world” is there to be released.

Because permaculture guides us to work with rather than against nature, it is critical that we know intimately how nature works. We are part of nature and nature can involve conflict and domination of one species over another.

With the internet our species has, at last, the tools to see how authority works primarily in its own interest. For the first time  ever 99% of citizens have a means to communicate across tribal boundaries outside of the control of the ruling systems.

The culture of open source sharing is growing fast. Knowledge is power but one has to open ones mind to challenging information – and take the time to check it out.

Knowledge of self sufficiency in providing food, power, shelter (free of corporate control) and most importantly, insight into the framework of our dystopian political structure –  is readily available to us.

Taking the framework of permaculture as a guide – especially in spotting patterns, it should be plain to see that control of the money system and usury, (the abuse of  “lending” tokens of exchange value – money – at interest)  is central to the enslavement of our species.

The basic mechanism of money was ours. Second to language it was trust in exchangeable tokens representing human productive value that was the catalyst for the rapid evolution of our species allowing division of labour and synergistic trade. This “pollination” and fertilisation mechanism was usurped by despotic power and cultivated through specious trickery turning money into a commodity – and then creating it out of thin air as debt with interest charges.

In permaculture earth based growing systems we look for patterns, relationships, identifying dominant species for given conditions, soil, water, climate – we look for synergistic co-operation and marvel at the beauty and utility (for humans) of nurtured  nature.

As bees are vital in the cross pollination and fertilisation of our crops so money (as a token of real exchangeable value) is vital to the cross pollination of knowledge and the fertility / productivity of society. Presently it is controlled by corrupt unaccountable authority.

A new future, locally controlled and participatory society, (“true democracy”) shaped by Bill Mollison’s principle of care for the soil, care for the people, share the surplus, is very “growable” once we control our money.

Who is “we”? The pattern of patriarchy tells of “leaders” and followers (mostly led up the garden path).  Surely authority must be granted only if based on competence, transparency of actions, honesty and accountability? In the same way agriculture / horticulture / livestock rearing et al need a root and branch transformation so does our political system.

Humans and nature are part of an inseparable whole. By connecting deeply to our place in the natural world, we remember our ultimate belonging and awaken our vision and unique genius.

So called “representative democracy” can only be effective if a much larger percentage of the citizenry take direct responsibility.

We have to design and cultivate our own system based on our permaculture values, where a significant number of citizens are dedicated to a form of social responsibility that is both above and inclusive of self interest.

As Maddy writes (Ed. PM91)  “We are called to be radical” .

And so back to the money system the key to another world that most readers of the Permaculture Mag feel they are digging for. Why can we not operate our own “fair shares” money system?

US and UK Greens have adopted a radical approach to managing our money system. It requires you the reader to take time to investigate, check and become familiar with the subject. We are creatures of habit and the multiple crisis we face require us to break habits, perhaps of a lifetime, to investigate the core mechanism which is both the tragedy of our current world and the hope for a brighter future.


“The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise or to evade truth, not to reveal it”

John Kenneth Galbraith

But when you open your mind to the question of the money system it is actually quite simple. As Frank Zappa said “the mind is like a parachute – it only works when you open it”

A step by step guide to understanding the money system is here.


There are links to videos, books, short essays – to many sources of info  to grasp the issue of money it is crucial that you yourself investigate as you do in planning your garden, woods, allotment etc.

”The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of Government, but also the government’s greatest creative opportunity. By the adoption of these principles the taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest. Money will cease to be master and become the servant of humanity”

Abraham Lincoln

“We can live easily on the Earth – The solutions are embarrassingly simple”

Bill Mollison  1928 – 2016

Yours in peace   …..  John Yates

[Custodian of Goffin Land Exeter]