Permaculture is a grassroots movement, promoting sustainable living in tune with natural ecosystems and, in particular, sustainable food production. Its aims are laudable, but until it sorts out its image problem, permaculture will never feed the world.
A survey carried out by the University of Illinois has shown the vast majority of participants in permaculture, living across 45 countries, are white.
Sarah Taylor Lovell, the agroecologist who led the work said:
The absence of people of colour in our survey results seems to be problematic across a lot of environmental movements.
She adds that it may just be that people of colour don’t identify with the term “permaculture” even though they may be practising something similar. But that seems to be kind of the point – a movement needs members and if it is exclusionary, it will very likely fail.
Although over half of the survey respondents were female, women are disproportionately excluded from professional roles in the movement, including paid positions as consultant, teacher or designer. So far, so replicating existing structures.
In addition, participants in the permaculture movement tended to be of intermediate or high socioeconomic status, based mainly on higher education and home ownership. And there we have it – another institution run by white, middle class men!
Those who are passionate about permaculture as a way of life and a solution to many of our planet’s ills should begin to look outside of their boundaries and seek to benefit from the leadership, skills, ambitions, and perspectives of ‘others’.
Until the environmental movement both reflects the diversity of human beings and becomes one movement, together, the victories over climate change, precarious food security, and threats to our health and wellbeing will be scattered and piecemeal.
Time to practice what you preach!
- If you’re into permaculture, contact the Black Permaculture Network
- Find out more about permaculture from the Permaculture Association
Featured image via pixabay
Do your bit for independent journalism
Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.
We need you to help out, if you can.
When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.
You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.
In return you get:
- Advert free reading experience
- Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
- 20% discount from our shop