About the Book
Much of the content in the chapters that follow has been gathered from a wide range of informal sources in the movements that might be called (to use an Arturo Escobar term) *transition dialogues* - these include, amongst others, the intersecting worlds of permaculture design, ecovillage development, transition initiatives and bioregional congresses although this collection is not pretending to be a complete representation of all these dialogues.
Further, the participatory fields of open conferencing and world cafés, the clearing fields of compassionate communication and re-evaluation counseling also play a part. Add to these ways of thinking the modified ideas of spiral dynamics, of integral theory, of the value of experiential learning, of story-telling of the auto-ethnographic variety, pluralism and complexity theory to round out the boundless package and we have almost defined the scope of the big picture thinking in these transition dialogues. These dialogues are seeking to articulate a functional and inspirational worldview suited to the new conditions of certain climate disruption and the inevitable ensuing social chaos.
It is a wide ranging curriculum that assumes, as a kind of prerequisite, a practitioner level knowledge of permaculture design. Practicing permaculture is our favored method for reconnecting ourselves with nature especially as it holds to so-called deep green ethics - Care of the Earth, Care of People and Limits to Consumption and Population. These essential ethics go past an anthropocentric viewpoint in favor of a web-of-life perspective: humans are part of this web of life, not separate from it, and so, if immediate human interests clash with ecosystem interests, we strive to give the latter priority. *If you don’t have a grounded knowledge of permaculture design find a permaculture design course and get it now and start practicing it.*
However, the topics are chosen to extend beyond the more common Care of the Earth focus of the now-classic permaculture design course (PDC). Our principle contributors (see Acknowledgments for details) have all taken their permaculture design training out into the world and designed, consulted, practiced, transitioned and taught the field extensively. From this experience they have noted the ‘what’s needed to expand the range of actions’ beyond the land use focus of the classic PDC and, that’s what you’ll find outlined in this eBook. There is more to it, of course, and yet this collection goes far and wide.
We have been using this curriculum for our Gaia U Certificate in Ecosocial Design (Cert.ESD) for about 8 years now. It shifts and flexes every time, sometimes through gentle tweaking and sometimes by more radical excisions and inclusions. Our two cohorts per year of student associates see to it that we continue to be relevant and also conscious of unintended Patrix intrusions. The Patrix is a Gaia U term coined as a shorthand for the patriarchal matrix of oppressions dominant in many of our cultures). And, as much of the content is to do with *how to do world change*, we continue to do world change work ourselves to stay sharp.
About the Author
I come to authorship after a long career of doing permaculture work on the ground (since 1977) and developing educational infrastructure projects aimed at supporting self and others on the long journey to making a living at this work. It has been (and continues to be) an intense and enjoyable self-employed kind of thing that involves inventing the very pathways I walk on.
I like to have plenty of allies close by and it is this desire for company that leads me to advocate for and teach ecosocial design.