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Aussie St Suburbia Retrofit


David Holmgren looking short with tall poppies of Tassie permaculture  Hannah Moloney and Anton Vikstom

David Holmgren looking short with “tall poppies” of Tassie permaculture Hannah Moloney and Anton Vikstrom

Hobart July 19 was the final gig of the Foss/Holmgren around Australia speaking tour. With Nicole Foss back to NZ David took the opportunity of extended presentation time (80 minutes) to expand on some of the financial issues covered by Nicole and to add more creative ad lib flourishes to Aussie St.

Described by Brisbane permaculture pioneer Dick Copeman as “the permaculture soap opera” Aussie St is a light hearted but gutsy look at opportunities for creative in-situ adaptation in suburbia to the emerging crises of contracting economics, geo-political instability, peak oil and climate change.

This event hosted by Good Life Permaculture  at Sustainable Living Tasmania was broadcast live on YouTube. Despite the less than perfect visuals (and David being tired from teaching all day on the Good Life Permaculture Design Course)  this broadcast is well worth viewing for anyone who missed the Foss/Holmgren tour.


Note this video has been edited to begin with a brief intro by Hannah before the presentation that runs for 80 minutes with 15 minutes of Q&A



Kahverengi Teknoloji Çağı’na Hoş Geldiniz!

7Permakültürün duayenlerinden David Holmgren’in “dünyanın gidişatı” ve kısa-orta vadeli projeksiyonlarla, permakültür gibi doğayla bütünleşik, bütüncül, akıllı ve etik tasarım çerçevelerinin ve felsefelerinin etkisi üzerine kaleme aldığı bu önemli makaleyi,  Yeşil Düşünce Derneği olarak Green European Foundation desteğiyle çıkardığımız “Gülümseyen bir bugün için Yeşil Politika ” kitabında Türkçe’ye kazandırdık ve yayınladık.

Holmgren’in makalesi, dünün ve bugünün analizini yaparken güçlü bir zemine oturması, yarınla ilgili projeksiyonlarının da aynı anda hem gerçekçi, hem de ütopik olmasıyla ön plana çıkıyor. Bu anlamda Holmgren, “olacak, olması gereken ve yapabileceğimizi” aynı anda sunuyor. Makalenin permakültür ve ekolojinin algı dünyasına samimi eleştiri ve öneriler getirdiğini de belirtelim.

Makaleyi yayımladığımız “Gülümseyen bir bugün için Yeşil Politika”, Yeşil Düşünce Derneği tarafından 2 yıldır gerçekleştirilen çevrimiçi-uzaktan öğrenimli “Yeşil Düşünce Okulu”nun bir ara çıktısı. Alanında uzman akademisyen ve düşünürlerle yapan-eden aktivistleri bir araya getiren okulun çıktısı olan kitap da, yazar kadrosu itibariyle, sözle eylemin kucaklaştığı bir zemin olma gayretinde. Ve tabi, bu daha başlangıç!

Kitaba dijital ve ücretsiz olarak bu adresten ulaşılabilir.3

Makalenin çevirmeni Suat Ertüzün’e hızlı, özenli ve güçlü çevirisi için müteşekkirim. Ertüzün, makalenin özgün dilindeki akıcılık ve nüansları Türkçe’ye büyük bir beceriyle aktardı.

Ve tabi, Holmgren’e makalesinin Türkçe’ye çevrilmesi için verdiği hızlı ve gülümseyen izni nedeniyle kocaman bir teşekkürü borç biliyoruz.

Keyifli ve “derin” okumalar!”

Editör: Durukan Dudu



Reverence for the bunya bunya

One of the critiques of permaculture is that, in attempting to be a theory of everything, it has failed to contribute real progress on any of the manifold fronts it addresses. Had Mollison and I spent our lives planting, managing and selecting oaks and bunya bunyas, we might have made a greater contribution to a benign energy descent future. On the other hand, we have inspired many others, a few of whom have contributed significantly to the still very slow expansion of knowledge of, breeding, and use of tree crops. Peter Brew was one of those few, a keen observer, independent thinker and energetic practitioner whose potential to contribute to a better energy descent future for humanity through tree crops, was cut short by personal misfortune exacerbated by an affluent but ignorant society unable to recognise, let alone reward, his genius. When Oliver and I harvest the first nuts from the Spring Creek Community Forest grove, I will start a new nursery bed to contribute to the hybrid vigour of the future bunya bunya groves of southern Australia to honour Peter’s contribution to an abundant future.

You can download the article Reverence for the bunya bunya (full text).



Food for thought, security and sovereignty

This is a longer version of the article David Holmgren contributed to the inaugural issue of the Pip magazine.

Food insecurity also shows up in affluent countries in many surprising ways.  In Australia declining backyard food production since the 1960s and the loss of community, reduced the opportunities for barter and social insurance from non-monetary exchange. In the decades since, increasing apartment living and smaller backyards has reduced the capacity for household food production. Multiple generations of wage, and even welfare dependence, has left many Australians without even the “skills of poverty”, including food gardening and home preserving.  In recent decades high debt levels have seen all household members commuting to work or school, leaving little time for food gardening, animal rearing and preserving.  The decline in home cooking and storage of food at home have increased dependence on 24/7 commercial food outlets which themselves have become monopolised and transport dependent.  The constant drive for greater efficiency and profits by food corporations has seen “Just In Time” logistics replace warehousing and storage in shops. Interruptions to supply chains from natural or economic disasters set up instant dependence of large populations on emergency relief on an unprecedented scale. Even without Peak Oil and Climate Change, the prospects of large numbers of people being food insecure in Australia increases inexorably due to the dysfunctions of multi-generational affluence. I wonder why people feel so comfortable relying on Coles as their personal food cupboard.

You can download here full text of Permaculture for food security and sovereignty.


Food Security and Sovereignty

PIP-Cover-issue-1LR-e1395804611513 “It’s been ten years since Australia had its own permaculture magazine and since then we have had to rely on overseas publications to learn about permaculture and hear what other like-minded people are doing ” laments the founding editor of a new permaculture magazine, called Pip magazine. Nothing wrong with permaculture periodicals overseas, but when we consider that permaculture ‘originated’ in Australia and being tauted as one of the biggest exports of ideas from this country, it is a poor state of affairs nonetheless.

Despair no more Australians as Pip magazine will hit the market very soon. Pip is a brainchild of journalist, editor and photographer Robyn Rosenfeldt, a Melbourne native now a resident of far south east NSW. She and the team no doubt have exerted not an insignificant amount of passion, but as she notes, publishing was made possible by the generosity of the community through crowd-funding.

Pip magazine is not just another gardening magazine, just like permaculture is not just about gardening. Permaculture is a design system that can be applied to all aspects of life to enable us to live more sustainably. It starts in the home and garden and is about creating systems that are self-reliant. But it extends right out to broad acre farming, to community development and beyond.

The first issue has stories on how to grow your own shiitake mushrooms, create a food forest, herbal first aid, natural dyes and creating a clothes swap in your own community, as well as a piece on food security and sovereignty contributed by David Holmgren.

Below we publish a short excerpt from his piece. Please get hold of the magazine, available at good newsagents and retail outlets, to get the whole story, and better still, subscribe to it here. The Pip mag is also available digitally across all devices. The second issue is due out in September.

The inaugural issue is available for purchase at our online shop.

Food insecurity also shows up in affluent countries. In Australia, declining backyard food growing and home cooking since the 1960s  has increased dependence on 24/7 food outlets which are car transport dependent and increasingly monopolised.  The loss of community has reduced the ‘social insurance’ from non-monetary exchange of surpluses.  Interruptions to supply chains from natural or economic disasters set up instant dependence of large populations on emergency relief on unprecedented scale. Even without Peak Oil and Climate Change, the prospects of large numbers of people being food insecure in Australia increases inexorably due to the dysfunction of multi-generational affluence. I wonder why people feel so comfortable relying on the supermarket as their personal food cupboard.

Gunther Food Energy

Graphics from the “Relocalising Our Food using Permaculture Theory and Practice at Sustainable and Fair Food” presentation (Feb 2014), based on Folke Günter, 2001.

Applying permaculture principles to food production changes the way we produce food and how much we store, preserve, transport, distribute, prepare and consume.  Beyond the dinner table, permaculture design reorganises the supply chain to ensure all wastes including human waste are recycled to food producing land. These closed loop cycles are easier and more energy efficient when organised at the household and local scale.  Growing at home increases food security in many overlapping and self-reinforcing ways.

Firstly it is relatively easy to produce perishable vegetables, fruit and small livestock products using organic methods that recycle household and local wastes. These foods might not be staples but they reduce the food bill, diversify the diet and improve everyone’s health, both in the production and the consumption.

Secondly, home-grown food gives a sense of pride and sufficiency, builds skills and confidence to scale up if necessary, generates surplus for preserving that increase household food storages while gifting and barter further increase your credit with others.  All these processes help reboot the household and community economies that were once the background to the monetary economy. History shows us that whenever the monetary economy takes a dive, the household and community economics grow rapidly.


The evil seeds

monsanto demoWe recently received the latest issue of the Permaculture Activist magazine, published by Peter Bane and his team. It is another excellent issue, dedicating the whole magazine to Seeds. As the editorial by John Wages summed up, “the question of heirlooms and hybrids is largely a question of democracy and local control…Without the ability to make our own decisions, including economic ones, democracy is a sham.” The magazine is worth reading from cover to cover.
This reminds us of the current supreme court case in which an organic farmer Steve Marsh from Kojonup, southeast of Perth, is suing his neighbour who is alleged to have contaminated his farm with GM canola seeds. Steve lost his organic certification with the certifying body, the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA) which has a zero tolerance for GM material.

Monsanto’s GM canola has been popular among the farmers in WA since the state government approved it in 2010, with sales of canola seed up by almost 40 per cent last year. The Western Australia’s farmers’ peak body, WA Pastoralists and Graziers Association was backing Steve’s neighbour in the court, arguing for the “choice in agriculture and the advantages of new technologies.” In Australia, Monsanto’s Round-up® ready GM canola is allowed to be grown not just in WA, but also in NSW and Vic. It is claimed that Monsanto is backing the GM farmer’s case as well.

This court case is the first such legal case in the world and has big ramifications. As the Canadian Global Mall article puts it, “(i)t may influence the standard industry protocols for handling GM crops in future, the definition of what constitutes an “organic” product, and how farmers coexist using different practices. It’s become a landmark case, likely to set new ground rules between those who do and those who don’t do GM.” (Steve Marsh and the Bad Seeds)

JointhemovMany in the organic food movement and food industry including Dr. Vandana Shiva, Costa Georgiadis, Holly Davis and Kylie Kwong have made public the importance of GM free food and supported Steve Marsh in this landmark legal battle. While David Holmgren has not specifically talked about the case, but he has argued that access to seeds is vitally important, saying “it’s an issue about who controls and owns the energy that fuels humans”. In the following interview you can find out why GM free seeds are important, from a permaculture perspective.


(The interview was conducted originally by Peter Charles Downey for United Natures, International Permaculture Day and the Seed Freedom movement. The protest footage is from the Melbourne edition of the March Against Monsanto and their genetically modified organisms on May 25, 2013.)


(See the permaculture boy wonder Charlie Mgee interviewing Vandana Shiva)

You can follow the court case on Julie Newman’s trial daily blog and “I am Steve Marsh” facebook page,

You can make donation at Steve Marsh Benefit Fund or Legal Fighting Fund.


Crash on Demand: radio interview (3)

radioDavid Holmgren appears on C-realm’s weekly podcast #401 titled “Psycho-social Debt Jubilee” hosted by KMO in which he discussed his recent essay, Crash on Demand: Welcome to the Brown Tech Future as well as his earlier essay, Money Vs Fossil Energy: the Battle for Control of the World.

David has been tracking the onset of climate change and peak oil for many years, but he says that in recent years, largely due to the work of Steve Keen and Nicole Foss, he has come to see financial systems as the fastest moving and most volatile element in emerging global crisis. He describes why he considers the Bush administration to have been guided by a certain energy realism lacking in too many social and climate activists. Finally, he describes why he thinks that multiple generations of mass affluence has left us saddled with a psycho-social debt that will be very difficult for us to discharge.

KMO’s conversation with David Holmgren, “Psycho-social Debt Jubilee” is found at C-Realm podcast page here.

You can also listen to other interviews David has done on the same subjects, Crash on Demand: radio interview (1) and Crash on Demand: radio interview (2).  Read also what the great thinkers and activists in the sustainability community, such as Dimitry Orlov, Albert Bates, Rob Hopkins, Nicole Foss, John Michael Greer, David MacLeod and many others,  think about the essay, in  Crash on Demand, the discussion so far.

As well you may be interested in the following video interview David did for Pip Australian permaculture magazine, “How you can change the world with permaculture”. Here David discusses “Crash On Demand” with a slightly more positive spin.


Still on the subject, he has also compiled what could be termed as a concise summary of “Crash on Demand”.
Crash on Demand, a concise version
We recommend you read the whole essay first, though.


Crash on Demand: interviews and a summary

Requests for David Holmgren to do interviews keep coming in following the publication of his latest essay “Crash on Demand”. He has done a couple so far, in an attempt to answer some of the questions raised by the fellow travellers. Click on the links below to listen to what he has to say.

Agricultural Innovations with Frank Aragona part 1: Crash on Demand) (Sept 29, 2014) and part2: Pathways to intentional communities (Oct 6, 2014)

With David Holmgren on his essay ‘Crash on Demand’ with Stefan Geyer (21st century permaculture) originally broadcast on Feb 2, 2014 on London’s Shoreditch radio.

Crash on Demand with Alex Smith (Ecoshock Radio), also features Nicole Foss.

In the follow up email exchanges, Alex Smith from Ecoshock Radio raised a further question which was not covered in his interview.

Is David saying that the system will crash anyway and by scaling up permaculture activities will fasten the inevitable, or is he really calling for non-violent efforts to crash the economic system,  to save the planet, or is not calling for that? To answer that, he has compiled what could be termed as a concise summary of “Crash on Demand”. You can download the text here. We recommend you to read the whole essay first, though.

Crash on Demand, a concise version

See also the following video filmed for Pip Australian permaculture magazine, “How you can change the world with permaculture”. It shows David presenting a more positive take on what is essentially the same message as “Crash On Demand”.



Crash on Demand, the discussion so far

Since the publication, David Holmgren’s essay “Crash on Demand” has generated a heated debate among the sustainability communities around the world. We try to keep up with the discussion in the cyber world as much as possible (but if we missed any other articles and blogposts, please let us know).  Below, we compile the list of articles and posts we have come across (so far) all worth reading, including most of the comments (last updated on May 15, 2015).

υγεία (mediterranean food) Permaculture, also on the grokking eagle.
Silvia Di Blasio (Mainstream Permaculture) Teaching permaculture: what is permaculture for.

David Pllard (how to save the world) How our narratives inform our hopes for change also on

Mary Logan (A prosperous way down) Fitting into nature–or not (see comments).

The Overthinker The best way to address climate chane is NOT to talk about it.

Norris Thomlinson (Farmer Scrub’s blog) Demand Crash! – a response to Holmgren’s “Crash on Demand”.

Chris McLeod Let’s talk about collapse.

Silvia Di Blasio (Living As If Others Really Mattered) Emphasizing the wrong “E”, Follow up on COD, and why it is worth continuing the discussion.

Dimitry Orlov (ClubOrlov) David Holmgren’s Crash on Demand also on

John Michael Greer (The Archdruid Report) A bargain with the Archdruid also on

Kevin O’Conner (C-Realm) Dirty Pool: A Response to Guy McPherson.

Joanne Poyourow (on Transition US) Economic descent, hopefully with skillful means also on and Collapse? Maybe not also on

Erik Lindberg (Transition Milwaukee) Agency on Demand? Holmgren, Hopkins and the historical problem of agency also on

Rob Hopkins (Transition Culture) Holmgren’s “Crash on Demand”: be careful what you wish for also on
His more recent piece Reflections on being a “cultural optimist” and a month of scaling up also  on

Jason Heppenstall (22 billion energy slaves) Stabbing the beast also on

David MacLeod (Integral Permaculture) Crash on Demand: David Holmgren updates his future scenarios also on
His later piece What is David Holmgren really telling us also on
His latest post David Holmgren: “I haven’t really changed my message” also on

Nicole Foss (the Automatic Earth) Crash on Demand? A response to David Holmgren.


Albert Bates (the Great Change) Charting Collapseniks also on
his update “recharting collapseniks.




Crash on Demand: radio interview (2)

Old-RadioAdding further to the on-going discussion of his essay “Crash on Demand“, David Holmgren appears on  Radio Ecoshock with Alex Smith. Also on the same program is Nicole Foss from the Automatic Earth (who had written Crash on Demand? A Response to David Holmgren). The dynamic duo explains some of the controversial points raised in the debate (including ”The best way to address climate change is not to talk about it”).

The show can be heard on 76 stations all around the world including CFRO in Vancouver (Friday at 1 pm), WPFW in Washington D.C. (Monday 1 pm), Resonance in London (Tuesday Noon), KNEW 960 in San Francisco (Sunday 10:30 pm), PRN in New York (Saturday 10 am), 3CR  in Melbourne (Sunday 6 am), 4ZZZ in Brisbane, NIM-FM in Nimbin, NSW, and so on.  Check the syndication station list for your local area.

For those living outside the radio broadcast zones or those who missed the broadcast, the entire program is available for download here.