>On Sat, 28 Dec 1996 YankeePerm@aol.com wrote:
>> is offensive. It is unrelated to the issues that make all agriculture as
>> practiced unsustainable. If you don't have something useful to say about
>Did you mean to write that "all agriculture as now practiced" is
>unsustainable?....That seems like such a broad stroke...As a reader of the
>numerous posts to the list...I'd like to know if everyone is in agreement
>on the definition of "sustainable"?......
Yes. and yes. I'd be happy to be wrong. To be sustainable, an agriculture
must produce more energy than it consumes, be independent of nonrenewable
sources of energy, and sustain or increase its resource base (water, soil,
nutrients, genetic resources, etc.)
I also draw a distiction between agriculture and gardening (into which I
class much subsistance "farming"), because these activities are obviously
categorically different in their approach to food production, in much the
same way that hunter-gatherer approaches are. I am not particularly
interested in a discussion of these views because it doesn't matter whether
or not people on the list agree on them. It would be fine with me if they
persist in the hypothesis that it is possible to develop a sustainable
agriculture, and then work toward it. This will buy a little time and maybe
there will be more resource left for nature to use to regenerate when the
human population abruptly crashes. If we are very crafty in the pretense
that there can be a sustainable agriculture, we might even situate an
adequate breeding population of our own species so that it will survive and
be able to sustain itself, presumably regenerating the cycle of destruction
in another 10,000 years or more, depending on how much "civilization" we
preserve. The less civilization, the longer the interval.
It seems to me, however, that we need to be talking about substantial issues
such as Ignaccio Villa introduced instead of insubstantial mind games, a sort
of academic arm wresteling with words, that has come to dominate this list.
For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since
1982), Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses,
consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), and now correspondence
permaculture training by email. Copyright, 1996, Dan & Cynthia Hemenway, P.O.
Box 2052, Ocala FL 34478 USA YankeePerm@aol.com
We don't have time to rush.