Written Resources

This page stays updated with information from our recent readings and similar explorations. It may become a more interactive blog in the future - but then again we don't really want to spend that much time on the computer. Please email your latest finds or send a recommendation.

Paul Hawken's 2009 Graduation Speech in Oregon

The Dark Side of Tweets and Twitter, Unger Report

Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System, Donella Meadows

The Inflection is Near? Thomas Friedman

Post Oil Transition Lists for Vermont and Rural Places

While Detroit Slept by Thomas Friedman

Fifty Million Farmers by Richard Heinberg

VT Commons Magazine Interview with Ben Falk

Backcountry Users as a Beneficial Species? by Ben Falk

 

Latest seriously fascinating book: 1491 by Charles Mann
Chris Shanks puts it: "Some of the best non-permaculture, permaculture I've read." (And he reads a LOT). Mann articulates some of the most relevant traditional land-use findings put to paper, discussing the extent to which intentional ecologies had influenced this hemisphere before European arrival. His study of "native" American land practices will surprise many. His view on wilderness, for instance,is Cronon-esque but this story is more timely than Cronon's and others because it discusses the rarely acknowledged and vast influence of first peoples land management practices. The story therein has tremendous bearing on the possibilities for North America's current cultures developing a sustaining land relationship.

Some snippets:
“Sometime in the first millennium A.D. the Indians began systematically replanting large belts of woodland, transforming them into orchards for fruit and mast (nuts)…
Within a few centuries, the Indians of the eastern forest reconfigured much of their landscape from a patchwork game park to a mix of farmland and orchards. Enough forest was left for hunting, but agriculture was an increasing presence. The result was a new ‘balance of nature’…
From today’s perspective, the success of the transition is striking. It was so sweeping and ubiquitous that early European visitors marveled at the number of nut and fruit trees and the big clearings with only a dim apprehension that the two might be due to the same human source…

Millions of Europeans spent centuries behind the plough, staring at the blade as it ineffectively mired itself in the earth. How could none of them change the design to make it more useful? The complexity of a societies’ technology has little to do with its level of social complexity… Every society misses out on obvious technologies.”