Whitewashed Hope: A response from the Permaculture movement

It is with deepest gratitude that we respond to your message ‘Whitewashed Hope’. We understand the intention of the piece is to invite us to go deeper and to acknowledge and integrate practices from Indigenous cultures and worldviews.

We acknowledge there have been failings in these regards. We welcome the opportunity that your message brings for us to deepen our understanding and look closer at how permaculture can bring deep cultural and relational change. We understand that you are calling on us to review both our global message and the basis of our teachings.

We acknowledge the indigenous people who have kept indigenous techniques alive. We  acknowledge that whilst the elders of Permaculture, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, borrowed from indigenous world views, the spiritual nature and the wholistic view of the  indigenous people with whom they studied in Australia failed to be passed down or fully  appreciated.

We share your ambition to achieve a consciousness shift from the current dominant culture to one founded on reciprocity, respect, and interrelations with all beings. Whilst we may hope our ethics of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Shares are aligned with such a vision, we acknowledge  that these ethics do not reference explicitly the worldviews of indigenous peoples.
We respond with open hearts and honour the spirit in which your message was sent. Groups of  us have met to discuss the message and how to respond. Some groups have been self-selected,  some have been self-directed. Smaller panels took on various tasks.

One outcome of the discussions is this response. Those who sign below are in the main members of the Permaculture Association (Britain), including its Educators and Teachers. Whilst as  signatories we believe we are representative of the wider body of permaculture, we do not claim to represent that wider body. We are also aware of other interested parties and groups in the  United Kingdom and elsewhere whom we hope to invite to further discussions. With the aim of  developing a global awareness and response to your message, we look to engage with regional,  national and international permaculture and regenerative agriculture movements and bodies.

During our discussions there has been a sharing of views and information with many of  us deepening our knowledge. A will is emerging to explore the opportunities that your message has spawned.

We recognise the spirit in which we are all connected. We would be interested in directing our  joint energies to achieving a common goal. 

We look forward to working together.

With gratitude,
The signatories

  • Alette Willis, Permaculture Diploma Student, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Andy Goldring, Leeds activist and teacher, CEO, Permaculture Association (Britain)
  • Bob Mehew, Farm Manager and Educator, Director Apricot Centre CIC, Trustee Permaculture Association (Britain)
  • Caillie Keogh, Environmental Educator, & mother to Global Permayouth member(Australia)
  • Chris Evans, Steward, Applewood Permaculture Centre UK, Advisor, Himalayan Permaculture Centre Nepal
  • Elizabeth Couse, co-founder of Liberation Permaculture
  • Hannah Field, Permaculture practitioner & PhD Researcher
  • Jane Hera, Activist, teacher, grandmother and Permaculture Design elder.
  • Jo Barker. Educator and Trustee Permaculture Association. Founder of East Kent Permaculture. Director of Canterbury Climate Action Partnership and Creative Director for Future Food Forests.
  • Les Moore, Chair of Board of Trustees, Permaculture Association (Britain).
  • Looby Macnamara, permaculture teacher and author, Cultural Emergence
  • Marina O'Connell, Horticulturalist and Educator, Director Apricot Centre CIC
  • Rachel Phillips, Nature Practitioner Assistant Educator, Apricot Centre CIC, Trustee Permaculture Association (Britain)
  • Scarlett Penn, Trustee Permaculture Association (Britain)