A personal perspective, with permaculture and Modern Agile lenses on
“The ethics earth care, people care and fair share form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies. Ethics are culturally evolved mechanisms that regulate self-interest, giving us a better understanding of good and bad outcomes. The greater the power of humans, the more critical ethics become for long-term cultural and biological survival.
Permaculture ethics are distilled from research into community ethics, learning from cultures that have existed in relative balance with their environment for much longer than more recent civilisations. This does not mean that we should ignore the great teachings of modern times, but in the transition to a sustainable future, we need to consider values and concepts outside the current social norm.”— [source]
On Earth Day in 2019, how’s our globalised humankind doing on a scale from 0 to 10 in each of three ethics? My estimate for all three is — close to zero, on a planetary scale. You can guess what that means for my personal “understanding of good and bad outcomes” in years to come. Having first-hand experience of a multinational state collapse (former Yugoslavia) — and violent wars that followed — does not help me being optimistic about human’s ability to prevent a catastrophe (even while being an idealist as I am).
Few days ago BBC broadcasted Climate Change — The Facts, 1-hour long sobering call to action by Sir David Attenborough. In it, professor Mark Maslin, Climate Scientist at University College London said — “If we want to try and keep global climate to 1.5 degrees [warming] we have to half our carbon emissions by 2030, and then hit zero carbon emissions globally by 2050.” — while all the charts and visualisations shared during the programme showed nothing but exponential rates of human consumption and destruction of ecosystems worldwide. On a planetary scale, there is no indication of a slowing down whatsoever. Systemic inertia in human socio-economic systems on the planet prevails. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong on this.
“This century presents us with a beautiful, terrible test. We will all rise together — or we will fall apart, in the blink of an eye, like we’re doing now. Climate change, mass extinction, inequality, and so on — none of these problems can be solved in an individualistic way anymore. We must have global systems, agreements, frameworks, to solve them — or we will not solve them at all.” — umair haque
Agile is about creating and delivering value early and often, in incremental, iterative manner. The essence of value in permaculture is in our three ethical principles. This incremental, iterative approach is helpful in understanding feedback loops and tweaking that comes after implementation of a permaculture design — a prototype, an experiment.
Agile thinking and approach is usefully synthesised in four Modern Agile principles that are applicable regardless of the “industry”. As explained on the Modern Agile community of practice website, “…you don’t need to be a name brand company to leverage modern agile wisdom.”
Bonus — 2-minute “crash course” on four Modern Agile principles:
If we take three permaculture ethical principles as a measure of value, how’s our globalised humankind doing on a scale from 0 to 10 on Earth Day in 2019 in each of four modern agile principles?
People axis: “Make People Awesome” and “Make Safety a Prerequisite”
Consumerist civilisation on a industrial scale does make some people “awesome” by satisfying their needs — some more than others — while on a planetary scale “safety” is close to zero for humankind and other life forms on the planet Earth.
Current economic system is consuming the planet, destroying systemic elements that make the basis for the whole of life: air, waters and top soils.
There is a need to make safety for all life a prerequisite in all human systems. There is a need for a “…global movement that it is leveraging technology and the power of community to connect local and global action and form networks to work on systemic challenges”, as Francesca Pick suggests here:
“We need global systems now. Not just systems which operate at the level of “countries” anymore, which are largely fictional things to begin with. We need global systems to stop climate change, mass extinction, inequality, social collapse — all the great problems spreading across a troubled world. We need those global systems to nourish and protect and safeguard every life, so that it can reach its fullest potential — whether those lives are yours, mine, a river, a poor child, or a little insect.” — umair haque
Global, citizen-led, agile system shifting networks could have this role.
Value axis: “Experiment and Learn Rapidly” and “Deliver Value Continuously”
Greta Thunberg recently explained sixth mass extinction to EU parliamentarians carefully choosing her words: “The extinction rate is up to 10,000 times faster than what is considered normal, with up to 200 species becoming extinct every single day,” she said. “Erosion of fertile topsoil, deforestation of the rainforest, toxic air pollution, loss of insects and wildlife, acidification of our oceans — these are all disastrous trends.” Few days later Sir David Attenborough vividly confirmed her words.
That’s rapid, right? Rapidly changing environmental and societal conditions on the planet Earth require rapid learning and continuous value delivery in line with three permaculture ethics. That’s one of the reasons why the most recent iteration of strategy for ECOLISE (one of the networks that I’m weaving) now assumes that “…accelerated learning and collaboration among community-led initiatives, their networks and partners [is needed] in order to catalyse systemic transformation within and across society.”
We need permaculture that is planetary.
We need global, agile and lean permaculture.
If what you just read makes sense to you and you would like to help spread the word, I encourage you to click the 👏 button and hold down to 20–50 claps as this will help invitations and calls to action above get more exposure. Also, please share this widely in your social media channels… Thank you in advance! :)