Self sufficiency, food, energy, natural building, permaculture
August 2, 2013 3:34 AM   Subscribe

Huge collection of books related to permaculture, natural building, food, energy etc. at United Diversity.
posted by leigh1 (19 comments total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
 
Very interesting. The idea of building a robust alternative economy that can grow alongside and ultimately displace the corrupt one that we currently have is fascinating.

One thing to watch out for is that existing systems are extremely good at being parasitic on genuine productivity - at moving resources, outputs and wealth up the chain to a small number of people at the top. If they do successfully create a replacement economy, then it will have to operate in a way that prevents the current economy from going - "aha! here is all the creativity we need to sustain us - gimme!" and just somehow expropriating the lot.

I'm not sure that they have a very clear idea of what this new economy will look like and are trying different projects, although I also think that they are quite keen on cooperatives. There is reason to believe that cooperative ownership, as a principle of business organisation, might prove surprisingly resilient (more about cooperatives here).

Interesting historical note: apparently the goal of some early unions in America was to own organisations cooperatively. I'm not sure how or why they abandoned that goal and became the moderators of an increasingly restricted dialogue between capital and labour. But it's interesting (if true) to hear that their original goal was more transformational - reorganising ownership on the basis of productive work.
posted by lucien_reeve at 4:36 AM on August 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


The best title you'll ever see for a book about composting: "The Methods of Jean Pain or Another Kind of Garden"
posted by pracowity at 5:27 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, so useful and timely. Within a few months now I will be installed on my compound and this is exactly the sort of information that will help my homestead to thrive. Thank you.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:38 AM on August 2, 2013


Holy mackerel, there's a ton of excellent beekeeping texts there as well. Thanks for posting this!
posted by jquinby at 5:39 AM on August 2, 2013


Nice collection, thanks!
posted by Rykey at 5:40 AM on August 2, 2013


If they do successfully create a replacement economy, then it will have to operate in a way that prevents the current economy from going - "aha! here is all the creativity we need to sustain us - gimme!" and just somehow expropriating the lot.

This is ridiculously simple: You just have to eliminate surplus, currency and weapons.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:50 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you!
posted by windykites at 5:57 AM on August 2, 2013


Wow there goes the next three months evenings Thanks
posted by mrgroweler at 7:27 AM on August 2, 2013


Please post the exceptional stuff you find in there. There's obviously a lot to comb thru.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:58 AM on August 2, 2013


Well, here's an interesting response to an author who requested removal.

I found it when trying to read "Gardening_When_It_Counts-Growing_Food_In_Hard_Times.pdf"

The book is gone, fwiw.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:03 AM on August 2, 2013


..and here I was about to ask if there was a torrent that compiled all of this stuff so I could download it in one go without overloading their servers.

I do think that that response lays it on a little thick but I guess if they took the file down they can include as many links as they want in their rebuttal. It interesting to see these kinds of direct threats of litigation because, perhaps naively, I also had been operating on the assumption that most permaculture authors would be OK with you downloading a PDF as long as it meant that those ideas would spread and be put into practice. Does reading on a kindle come out ahead of dead tree books in terms of impact and footprint? Is the lost opportunity of an author not publishing further books because they find that it isn't sustainable as a way of making a living due to piracy greater than the benefit of those pirates putting the practices outlined in what the author did publish before becoming disillusioned? Permaculture reminds us that we must support each other as well as the earth and natural systems that sustain us. It gives me a lot to think about. Regardless I think the clear takeaway here is that the world need much more explicitly free, open, distributable works on this topic. If any kind of information deserves to be free it is this.
posted by metaphorever at 9:47 AM on August 2, 2013


Huh, for once I can say I Actually Need This For Actual Research Purposes.
posted by The Whelk at 9:56 AM on August 2, 2013


Here's a similar archive of documents at cd4wd
posted by cr_joe at 10:07 AM on August 2, 2013


The idea of building a robust alternative economy that can grow alongside and ultimately displace the corrupt one that we currently have is fascinating.... I'm not sure that they have a very clear idea of what this new economy will look like and are trying different projects...

I think this is the exact attitude that people interested in building an alternative economy need to have. Revolutions are dumb and they run on fantasy. I don't think there's any way even the smartest person can predict the real outcome of one. If any actual change is to happen, I think it will come from people building alternatives* on a small scale then seeing if they naturally grow up to replace what we have right now.

* Which must both 1) better meet people's needs (as determined by the people) and 2) be sufficiently resistant to interference that they can grow without being destroyed.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 10:09 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


If any kind of information deserves to be free it is this.

If any kind of information deserves to be free, ALL information deserves to be free.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:18 AM on August 2, 2013


One thing to watch out for is that existing systems are extremely good at being parasitic on genuine productivity

Something we are starting to see in the permaculture community, unfortunately.

That said, we've had some real successes with ecosystem repair, most dramatically with the regreening of desert and semi-arid regions. On the economic front, one site I toured in Peru is developing systems to allow indigenous people to stay in the forest and earn more money than they would from going to the city and getting paid to trash their home in logging and oil operations. There's lots of cool little projects all over the world.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 12:55 PM on August 2, 2013


Permaculture is something that my wife has been fascinated by of late and has been learning whatever she can about. However, for some weird reason the Internet presence of the movement in general (message boards and stuff) apparently seems to consist mostly of "douchey buzzwordy middle managers who quit their jobs after a midlife crisis," I'm told, which has apparently led to a need to very clearly and deliberately separate a movement from (many of) its adherents. This is naturally quite frustrating for her.

Of course, maybe it's just a thing like that Achewood strip where Ray tries to make compost and calls Pat to mention it, but mostly just gets a "you're not doing it properly enough."
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:49 PM on August 2, 2013


Doc, I gave up on the message boards years ago. I've also given up following any websites. The people in permaculture who are actually making a difference tend to be too busy or disinterested in the net scene to post about their work. The people who do have time make the internet presence of permaculture unpleasant on the whole.

It's alternative status doesn't help matters. It too often attracts anti-scientific nuttery. For instance, after years of not reading the BBS emails I get, I decided to dig into one. What I found was an argument between a scientist in the permaculture movement and a nut who was claiming that viruses don't cause disease, thus vaccines don't prevent disease, and that global warming was a hoax. I went right back to not reading my emails and haven't gone back.

As I said earlier, however, there are people out there doing really impressive work.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 10:19 AM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


a need to very clearly and deliberately separate a movement from (many of) its adherents

My experience with the "lifestyle left" in a nutshell.
posted by Rykey at 1:34 PM on August 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


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