Permaculturalists Get Social: Worldwide Permaculture Network Launches

Image: Worldwide Permaculture Network
Interactive Networking Site Gets Off the Ground
Permaculturalists of the world, take note: if you've ever wished there was an easier way to connect, share ideas or find other permaculture projects all over the world -- all in one place -- then your prayers have been answered.

Australia's Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) just launched the beta version of its Worldwide Permaculture Network (WPN) website, which will allow people interested in permaculture to do just that and more. But it's more than a social hub or forum: could this innovative project change the way permaculture is practiced?

To be sure, WPN is an ambitious not-for-profit project, with the intention of fanning the flames of a global movement that has been gathering steam in the last few decades. Permaculture practitoners have always been a network-y bunch, but charting progress of this sustainable systems design movement has not been without some difficulties.

In an interview with Planet Shifter's Willi Paul, Craig Mackintosh of PRI says that "due to [permaculture's] inherent, decentralized properties, its extent has, until now, been hard to quantify."

But that's where WPN comes in, enabling people to see the bigger picture, and to connect and share solutions and successes on a much larger scale. Says Mackintosh:

We need people to see the breadth and scope of permaculture activity. If people facing resource depletion and economic meltdown believe that permaculturists are just a handful of scattered, idealistic dreamers, they'll say to themselves, "nice idea, but too little, too late", and they won't get on board. If, instead, they realize that this is actually a worldwide movement of individuals operating at a grass roots level in almost every country on the planet, then they'll instead think, "hell, I'd better get involved as I'm getting left behind!" Given where we're at in history, getting left behind in essential re-skilling and future-proofing is not an attractive position to be in.

From small- to big- scale permaculture solutions
It's all about visualizing a kind of exponential butterfly effect, where someone with a balcony garden, to someone involved in an aid project abroad, can post their work in the same place. Permaculture educators can post their courses to attract students, while WWOOFers can look for permaculture-related farming opportunities. Some of WPN's features include allowing users to:

  • Put themselves on a clickable map
  • Showcase their work
  • Be searchable according to many variables (climate zone, project type, and more)
  • Network with other permaculturists everywhere
  • Advertise their consultancy services
  • Advertise their courses (for educational projects)
  • Share knowledge, experiences, challenges, successes, and inspiration

In the long run, an interactive site like WPN could revolutionize the way permaculture is practiced from the global grassroots level. It might very well put permaculture firmly on the sustainable solutions map, just as the Open Architecture Network did for good, grassroots-relevant design. Inspired? Then check out WPN here to sign up or browse people and projects worldwide.

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