Charting Tomorrow

This interesting chart floated my way the other day from an equally intriguing website called Permatopia.

Here’s what its creators have to say about it:

Permatopia Patterns is a new way of thinking about permaculture. Historically, most permaculture guides and analyses have been focused on individual properties, often rural homesteads. Zones and sectors are key concepts in permaculture analysis, examining how to locate components of a permaculture system based on distance from the house and ecological factors. These are incredibly powerful tools for the personal level, but are far too limited in their scale for a society wide transformation to cope with Peak Oil and climate change.This page shows how the concept of zones can be extended to the goal of “permaculture for nine billion people.” Learning skills at the more local levels can help with efforts to extend to bigger levels, since effective solutions at the biggest levels depend on understanding how the solutions work at smaller levels.

The sectors concept reflects how there are many paths needed to move away from overshoot and collapse. Different people have different skills and interest, no individual or group could possibly address all of the various facets that are needed. The concept of interdependence between these issues (and levels) is one not normally promoted in our hyper-individualized society, but it is the type of path most likely to accomplish common goals.

Whether you are expanding a local community garden, installing utility scale wind power, teaching environmental education to second graders, starting up a community currency barter system, operating a bicycle shop, creating manufacturing cooperatives, campaigning for accountable elections, or any of thousands of other positive things is irrelevant – the key point is that you are doing something that is a piece of the puzzle.

Me likes. It lets you see the ripples flowing outward in the pond and understand how they all come together to create a wave of change from top to bottom or vice versa (pick your own pyramid) that washes away the unpleasantries and leaves us a nice clean beach upon which to build that utopia we’re always talking about. It’s a nice visual representation of the various levels there are to things and how they all tie together. Because isn’t that really all there is to it? Isn’t it really that simple? If I mind my house and you mind yours and the government promotes and funds and legislates the right ideas and technologies and changes and corrections, and the corporations wise up and get in line, (which, really, they should because you make a whole lot more money if you act smart than if you act like some simian human wanna-be sitting in a tree and flinging your poo around the planet as if all the bananas were yours and it was all some big funny monkey game), if we all each do our bit, whatever that bit might be, we’ll all get where we need to go in an official jiffy. Or thereabouts. Roughly, of course.

In fact, a chart like this points out how simple it all really is, how easy it would be to change everything everywhere now and for all time. We just do it. That’s all. We each take care of whatever piece of the pie we’re in charge of, or have influence over or can affect, whether it’s a home or a company or a Congress, and all those things come together in one great big grand unified field theory of eco-regenerative enviro-sustainarenewability, and we’re done. Pretty much anyway. For the most part. It’s like building a house only this one has cork flooring, VOC-free paint, double-paned triple-glazed windows, a closet full of spare compact fluorescent bulbs, and an organic garden out back. You know… the concrete team lays a foundation, the carpenters come in and do their thing. Then the plumbers. Then the electricians. Then the wall board crew and the mud guys. A couple of finishing touches by the fixture installers of your choice and before you know it, you’re serving Great Aunt Edna’s Famous Poppyseed Cake with Lemon Cream Frosting at the housewarming, the organic version, naturally.

Or in this case, you’re living in the world painted at the bottom of this page. It’s all about the threads and the connections and everyone making them wherever they can and joining individual strands of change together and suddenly there’s a beautiful tapestry you wrap around the world as we all ride into the golden dawn together. It’s so easy, so simple, so perfect and hopeful and peaceful and positive, that I spend whole days wondering what we’re waiting for.

Getting Trashed

As White Rhino said upon it’s forwarding, this guest post is almost poetry of a sort. Eco-haiku, anyone?

I have on my bedroom wall an old print from my Mother’s 1925 house showing Hercules trying to hold up the world. Sometimes that is how I feel after my walk in the woods and down our dirt road. I pick up bottles and cans as I go and pile them every so often. A neighbor told me since I go to that bother he will take them to the dump.

My angst is over the trash, old metal beds, ,jugs used for target practice that I find deep in the woods.

When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn??

Kim in NH.

7th Generation’s 2006 Corporate Responsibility Report is Out

Our 2006 Corporate Responsibility Report was released yesterday at 9:30am. It is a web-based report ready for your perusing and feedback. If you have some time please read it and please send us feedback. We get better and better at being responsible when we hear your voice and thoughts on how we can upgrade who we are and how we do business. In advance, thank yoU!!! WR

Stand Up & Be Counted (Or, In My Case, Arrested)

On the list of critical issues facing the human race and the planet we call home, global warming is at or near the top of my list. Yet, as Al says, the facts surrounding the climate crisis present us with a host of inconvenient truths. Many of us (me included) are unwilling to give up air travel, commit to the exclusive use of public transportation when we’re on the ground, eat an exclusively local diet or do the hundreds of other things necessary to dramatically reduce our CO2 footprint.

There is a strange disconnect between what we know and what we do. Changing a few light bulbs unfortunately isn’t going to save the world. US policy to prevent the construction of new coal plants, dramatically raise auto mileage standards and invest heavily in alternative energy would go a long way toward helping solve the problems that we as individuals can’t do on our own — exactly the type of policies that President Bush has pledged to ensure we never adopt.

So when presented with the opportunity to join a Greenpeace protest against the Bush Administration’s meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change last Thursday and Friday, I decided that I had to be there.

This conference was much too little and way too late. The President was staging it only to stall the progress already made by the United Nations and create the appearance that he actually understood and cared about the issue. The conference was a fraud.

Wednesday evening about 20 members of our staff had gathered for dinner before the beginning of the Expo East in Baltimore, the most important trade show for our business and industry. After I announced that I would be absent from the show the following day to attend the demonstration, almost two hours of impassioned debate ensued. Some felt the whole company should join me, and that we should shut down our trade show booth for the day with communication to explain why we would all be missing the meetings and appointments we had set up. Others argued passionately that we needed to let everyone decide for themselves. Still others felt we should tie a ribbon around the booth to close it off from visitors, and have some staff standing in the aisle to explain that we decided to not conduct business that day in honor of our fellow staff members who attended the demonstration.

In the end, a small contingent left with me at 5:45am to take the train down to DC for the protest. We posted a letter from me at the entrance of the booth explaining what some of us had gone to do. I went with no hope of changing Bush’s mind. Instead I wentto communicate to anyone who would listen that this issue is much more dangerous and important than many people know or understand, a point I was more than willing to be arrested for in order to make.

I hoped that some would react with a “Wow, imagine that! The CEO of this cool company thinks this issue is so important he was willing to go to jail. Maybe I should reconsider what I’m willing to do.”


Well, I did end up in jail, along with 50 other protestors including John Passacantando, the Executive Director of Greenpeace. It had been a long time since I’d felt the cold concrete of a jail cell. Greenpeace had us out in about 6 hours. My record will reflect only a misdemeanor charge.

Sometimes we have to stand up and be counted.