Designing in Resistance: Beyond Solutionary Permaculture

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Permaculture is about solutions. This, we know. Describing how they see their own theories of change, many permies, transitioners, and other ‘solutionaries’ sometimes reference Buckminster Fuller’s quote “you never change things by fighting the existing reality. Instead, you build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete”. Permaculture, they argue, is that ‘new model’.

Yet, if Permaculture is a social movement attempting to fundamentally transform society, is this quote that accurate? Can we change things only by building alternatives, like farms and currencies? Thoughtful and protracted observation of past and present movements for change in society should lead to a design for action where “fighting” what exists and “building” a new model are not counterpoised—but are held as two equally important aspects of a whole systems effort. Confronting power is as necessary as constructing alternatives.

This panel is about exploring the why and how of ‘oppositional’ forms of activism. Why are they so important—if not critical—to Permaculture’s success? How can they be better integrated into the dominant ‘solutionary’ modality of Permaculture? Panelists will cover local struggles for land and agroecology in the East Bay, the largest eco-social movement in the Western hemisphere, and much more.

Learn More About Antonio Roman-Acalá, Joelci Dannacena & Susan Juniper Park. Moderated by: Effie Rawlings