Permatopia Levels

local, bioregional, global permaculture solutions
EARTHDANCE: Living Systems in Evolution
Elisabet Sahtouris -- copyright © 1999 by Elisabet Sahtouris

One Meshika grandmother, Xilonem Garcia, has said "Anyone who knows how to run a household knows how to run a world." She understands fractal biology -- that patterns repeat at different levels, and that a healthy living system must run by the same principles no matter what size and scope it has. Consider the definitions given earlier of ecology and economy as `organization of the household' and `operating rules of the household.' This native elder understands that they cannot be separated. [emphasis added] /2008/09/16/the-universe-in-a-weed/
September 16, 2008...11:11 am
The universe in a weed

The biggest lesson I’ve received from observing the natural world, is that everything mimics a larger system. The smallest atoms with electrons revolving around an nucleus mimic the planets in orbit around the sun. The laws of succession which produce nutrient-rich top-soil are mirrored by the same process over time in our universe with dead stars giving birth to matter which later forms new stars and new planets. There’s always some reflection of ourselves or our garden or in the largest of imaginable places that resembles the smaller, that takes on the characteristics of another system within a system within yet another system. The further out we head from tiny atoms to the great expanse of our own universe, we begin to see how each thing is connected and most importantly, it reminds us that we are a part of everything.

local level bioregional level global level
home power public utilities, solar cities oil depletion protocol

energy conservation ethics

  • water conservation (water pumping and purification uses lots of energy)
  • use compost piles to heat water (via tubes run through the piles)
  • install extra insulation in your home
  • switch to efficient appliances and lighting,
  • use less heating, abandon air-conditioning, plant fruit trees for shade on the south side of your house (provides natural cooling in the summer, but allows light through in the winter)

renewables at the residential scale: solar, wind, micro-hydro, biogas, passive solar, attached greenhouses
solar design for heating and/or cooling (dependent on local climate and comfort requirements)

energy tips for renters (and owners):

  • turn off "phantom loads" (devices that are using power even when "off"),
  • curtains or cheap blankets on the windows,
  • less wintertime heating (wear sweaters)
  • less summertime cooling (adapt to your local climate)
  • give up clothes dryers (solar drying in the summer, drying racks near heating sources in the winter)

make megalopolises more sustainable through relocalization, reconfiguration of urban areas for efficiency in transportation, food production and energy production

local energy production: solar energy requirements for new building construction (in building codes), local biofuel production

publicly owned utilities - public power - utility scale solar and wind power

local government roles:

  • Municipal and State implementation of Global Oil Depletion protocol
  • change building codes and homeowner's association rules to promote efficiency, passive and active solar (hot water and electricity)
  • shift budgets from continued exponential growth toward a stable state economy
  • shift road construction budgets toward mass transit and intercity train service
  • tax incentives for renewables and efficiency
  • financing for renewable energy equipment factories
  • ban wasteful uses of electricity (billboard lights, neon lights, office buildings lit all night long)

shift from petrochemicals to plant based plastics, inks, glues, solvents and other industrial products (the carbohydrate economy)

use remaining oil for permaculture for nine billion people - convert the military industrial complex for peaceful purposes

The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism and Economic Collapse
(sometimes called Uppsala Protocol -- the Peak Oil equivalent of the Kyoto Treaty)

technology transfer of renewable energy equipment and efficiency systems to encourage newly industrializing nations to avoid the mistakes of the US and Europe -- reparations for imperialism










personal finances bioregional focus for stable state economics reverse globalization, relocalize everywhere

get out of debt, if possible

learn skills that would be useful in a barter based society

voluntary simplicity (is easier than involuntary simplicity)

vote with your dollars: support local businesses, buy locally made products from companies that treat their employees and the Earth with respect, invest in locally controlled, ethical businesses

gold? if you are thinking about gold, remember that it is hard to dig garden beds with gold coins - it is a substance that has been valuable for millennia, but if the dieoff scenario is the outcome for Peak Oil, it is unlikely that gold would be useful and gold mining has severe environmental and human rights problems

Community Currency - LETS, paper currency and hybrids (at local and bioregional levels)

locally ownership of banks, credit unions , cooperatives and collectives of cooperatives

encourage economic development of sustainably oriented businesses

tax (or ban) polluting, unsustainable industry and subsidize businesses needed for the post-carbon future

municipal support for locally owned businesses, not out-of-region owned chain stores

shift economic paradigms away from "growth" toward steady-state systems

Community Supported Manufacturing (similar to Community Supported Agriculture) - begin making products currently available in stores but made on the other side of the planet

Relax zoning ordinances to promote relocalization and permaculture

cut military budget to fund sustainability transitions This shift of the military budget would include $4 trillion looted from the Department of Defense. There are also $11.5 trillion hidden in offshore accounts to avoid taxation that could be used to eliminate poverty, mitigate climate change and transform civilization toward renewable practices.

nationalize US petroleum corporations (to use petroleum profits for public purposes)

stop drug profits (through decriminalization / legalization) and arms trade

In "third world" -- microcredit loans (such as the "Grameen Bank"), changing IMF/World Bank policies, land redistribution, reparations for corporate exploitation and imperialism - compensate war victims and convert military establishments to the biggest challenge in human history: developing a sustainable civilization that can survive and thrive beyond the petroleum era

local transportation bioregional transport think and act globally, use internet not jets

walking (humans are bipedal)

bicycles (the most efficient mode of transportation ever invented)

car sharing and car pooling

consolidate driving trips

use public transportation

slow, dependable electric cars and delivery vehicles

telecommuting (although that uses lots more energy that most are aware)

turn suburbs into ecovillages (know your neighbors)

relocalize production and buy local to reduce fossil fuel use for cargo ships, delivery trucks and freight trains - your personal ecological footprint probably includes many other people using energy on your behalf, to sustain your way of life (even if you are conscious of energy conservation and have already reduced your consumption)

moratorium on new highways, lower speed limits (90 km/hr, 55 mph), and tighter drivers license requirements

fund urban mass transit with federal transportation dollars, use interstate highway funds to maintain and repair crumbling bridges - declare the interstate highway system complete

municipal communication systems to support car sharing, car pooling, car-free days

improved urban public transit: buses, streetcars, light rail, subways

better urban design (ecological cities) - walkable cities, car free areas

change zoning and long term planning to promote permacultural cities

relocalize production of food and other essentials

revival of the national train system in the US -- inter-city high speed bullet trains for passenger service, shift freight from interstate highways to rail, put solar and wind power systems along tracks

better intercity bus services

increased gas taxes to fund public transit and renewable energy systems, institute gas tax rebate system for poorer citizens so that increased gas taxes impact the rich

use the internet for international communications instead of jet travel

sails on cargo ships can reduce energy consumption for products that are transported

relocalize production to reverse globalization and reduce petroleum combustion











Personal Food Production Community Food Security Organic Solutions for Global Food Supplies

food not lawns - grow food around homes

grow gardens if you have a lawn, share with a neighbor or a community garden if not

permaculture gardens, intensive square foot gardens

container gardening and community gardens for apartment dwellers

rooftop gardens

"victory gardens"

support organic food growers, natural food industry, buy in bulk (cheaper, less packaging)

eat low on the food chain (meat based diets require much more energy and water than plant based diets)

urban/rural alliances to protect farmland from sprawl development, promote urban gardens, farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture

convert golf courses to agriculture

compost municipal sewage for agricultural fertilizer, if toxic chemicals dumped down the drain (ie. sold in local hardware stores) are banned -- a substitute for synthetic fertilizer made with natural gas -- methane digesters using sewage can also provide cooking gas to replace depleted fossil "natural" gas -- substitute cover crops and humanure to replace natural gas based fertilizers

urge grocery stores to buy local

Agricultural Extension Services (and permaculture experts) can help teach communities to learn to grow food again

inventory regional sufficiency - identify gaps in skills, materials and facilities

city dwellers train and work exchange with rural farms


unprecedented international cooperation will be required

moratorium on genetically engineered crops ("frankenfood")

substitute hemp, kenaf and other annual plants for trees for paper making

(these could also be done on the regional level)

ban factory farming (the cause of bird flu?)

ban cannibal cows (feeding cows to cows causes incurable Mad Cow disease)

reverse Green Revolution with low-input agriculture that is locally appropriate and doesn't require fossil fuels

climate change requires promoting drought tolerant agriculture, adapting new varieties for shifting growing conditions

halt deforestation to reduce climatic disruptions and protect arable soil

food aid for worst disasters - but support local agriculture even during famine relief (when possible)

transition from free trade to fair trade -- relocalization plus fair trade of surpluses

Local Water Conservation Watershed Protection Climate Change and Global Water Policies

rainwater harvesting

graywater re-use: divert water drains from sinks, showers and washing machines for beneficial plants (fruit trees, berries and other food plants)

humanure (preventing water pollution)

piss outside! (especially if you male)

solar distillation of drinking water

conservation and efficiency

drought tolerant plants (xeriscaping)

water conservation and pollution prevention

bioremediation and mycoremediation for toxic areas (especially in cities)

reforestation to restore hydrologic cycles

plant based diets require less water

Kyoto Treaty (to slow drought and desertification)

enforce weather modification prohibition treaty (1976)

prohibit water exports between bioregions (which encourages unsustainable living, damages ecosystems and requires enormous energy inputs)


Personal Wellness Health Care For All Global Public Health

preventive health: organic food, herbs, exercise, stress reduction, low (or no) meat diet, exercise, bicycle, walk

take responsibility for your own health to minimize dependence on industrial medicine systems

single payer National Health Care to reduce economic waste in the health systems (the money for the insurance industry would be sufficient to ensure basic health care for the uninsured)

non-toxic industries

reduce consumerism

international cooperation to prevent pandemics similar to 1970s smallpox eradication efforts -- AIDS, bird flu, malaria

global ban on organochlorines and other persistent toxic substances

nuclear power ban and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, ban on "depleted" uranium

ban land mines, which have devastating effects on war torn regions (Angola, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Cambodia, etc)

reproductive rights for women: family planning, prenatal health care, nutrition, abortion rights

Local Culture Bioregional Culture Global Culture

Reclaim streets for pedestrian purposes

Turn off TV, corporate media and entertainment and entertain yourself, your family, neighborhoods - musical instruments, poetry, reconnection with natural world (and much more)

Transition out of corporate work

learn ways to gently extricate yourself, family, neighborhoods from corporate control of food, economics, transportation and other vital systems

festivals and carnivals (secular and / or religious)

community supported entertainment

reclaim endangered languages

United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

cross cultural understanding through exchanges, respect the variety of experience instead of ethnocentrism

human rights

equal opportunity for women and ethnic / political minorities


Cooperative Neighborhood Bioregional Governments A World Beyond War - Planetary Democracy

conflict resolution

authentic consensus and respect for diversity

gender, racial, religious, economic non-discrimination

non-violent communication

potlucks, gatherings, picnics, meetings

learn skills that increase self-reliance and that are useful for trading with your neighbors - this will probably be more practical than individualist, survivalist schemes to survive while those around you do not

honest elections require paper ballots, counted by hand

Campaign Finance Reform to end legal bribery (public funding of elections would cost taxpayers less than corporate corrupting of the political process)

break up media monopolies, support local independent media that is not funded by corporate interests or foundation grants

abolish the CIA to prevent covert interference in elections

Truth and Reconciliation Commission to expose military-industrial-intelligence complex in the decline of American democracy: JFK, Vietnam, Watergate, October Surprise, Iran-Contra, rigged elections, 9/11, War on Iraq, etc.

democracy for the United Nations:

  • abolish United Nations Security Council (the permanent members are the World War II victors who admit owning hydrogen bombs)
  • include First Nations into UN General Assembly (most nations are not represented at the UN - the Kurds, Hopi, Lakota, Cree, Western Sahara, and many, many others have no voice in the world's governmental body)

disband undemocratic elite planning groups: Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg, World Trade Organization

human rights, women's rights, respect for bioregional autonomy and independence, support for the World Court and International Criminal Court, United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

repeal NAFTA treaty and similar "free trade" agreements - replace them with global agreements on "fair trade," workers' rights, minimum wages, and prohibition of slavery and sweatshops

Green Building Intelligent Urban Design Gender Equality
and Global Overpopulation

intentional (and unintentional) communities -- cohousing, ecovillages and other shared housing models

City Repair revitalization strategies

green building with non-toxic products

retrofit suburbia for post petroleum paradigms, if possible

building codes need to reflect the end of cheap oil - mandatory passive solar design, solar panels, insulation requirements, etc.

some US cities make abandoned homes available for $1 if the new owners will fix them up - low interest loans can help poor people achieve home ownership

rent control prevents economic dislocation and gentrification

land use zoning changes to encourage compact urban footprints, protection of green space in cities, encourage urban agriculture (food not lawns)

the gap between global overpopulation and declining natural resources is the greatest crisis facing the human race

solutions to overpopulation include women's equality and mitigation of extreme poverty

family planning to prevent unwanted children (world population increases 10,000 people per hour, births minus deaths)