How to vote for a sustainable future using the 12 Permaculture Principles
A niece recently admitted that she had never voted. She then asked how she should choose a candidate to support. Not a simple question. No easy answer.
There have been studies that say if people stopped voting for a political party but rather for the best person for the job that we could have a far more supportive and responsive government in a short period of time. The study determined that party loyalty resulted in voters getting lee of what they wanted/needed from their elected officials.
Theses days we find that politicians get elected by money, as in who spends the most wins. Or by pedaling nastiness, fear and lies. Hard to build a sustainable future with such toxic beginnings. Drastic change is never easy and we have outgrown the status quo. Is there a way to grow the future and vote in viable stewards? If yes how?
Personally I find wisdom in the Permaculture mode articulated by David Holmgren. Besides ethics including care of the earth, care of self and care of each other it has 12 design principles for use as guidelines for sustainable land stewardship. Can 12 design principle for nature help us to elect public servants who can steward community to the next level? Perhaps... There is a theory that life is holographic that the patterns and guidelines for dirt and a ecosystem are not terribly different than for our cultural ecology. I propose it can.
1 Observe and interact: Take time to observe and engage with candidates. Are they sustainable in their personal life? Do they walk their talk? If yes? Vote yes!
2 Catch and store energy: Maybe not the most applicable for choosing a politician but one can ask it they support renewables. Do they support people and environment over corporate profit?
3 Obtain a yield: While a good rule of thumb for a farm, as a collective we need a new model as our ever-expanding Gross National Product is not sustainable. Making and selling more stuff means more need for use of limited resources and also more pollution and waste. Look for politicians who understand that there is no going back to the “good-old-days”. Going forward we need leaders with vision to redefine and support systems that enhance collective and individual abundance.
4 Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to make self-serving politicians who talk a lot and don’t listen a thing of the past like the dinosaurs they are. More importantly we need to support those candidates who can apply self regulation and accept feedback.
5 Support the use of renewable resources and services: Those who make laws... shape future. When they fund subsidies for oil and coal, they limit the health and future of our kids. Vote for those who understand that our health and food security is directly effected by pollution, and climate-change related weather events.
6 Produce no waste: In this day it is almost impossible to produce no waist and yet must be top of our list of intent. The politicians must lead. A lot of the trash we sort and put in the recycle bin gets dumped into a land fill as programs and end use programs are not in place. Those who want our vote need to do what it takes to support laws and innovation to lessen our ever growing trash issues.
7 Design from patterns to details: Much folly can be avoided if one can apply systems thinking and pattern recognition to creating new healthy fields-of-play rather than applying bandaids to lost limbs, or building on quicksand. Avoid candidates who promised to blow up the old, take us back in time, or maintain the status quo. All are desperately flawed. Seek those who use words like discussion and consensus. They are looking to build a collective dream and that’s usually stronger and more sustainable that one-man’s-ideal.
8 Integrate rather than segregate: Exposure to all walks of life help to developer relationships which will be needed to work together to support and evolve opportunity for co-creating future. Those who campaign on separatist, walls and the creation of ‘Other” are not leaders we can afford. Vote for those who can integrate ideas and people.
9 Use small and slow solutions: Again those who promises BIG CHANGE may not be sustainable. Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources, often producing more sustainable outcomes.
10 Use and value diversity: In nature Diversity reduces vulnerability. Cultural diversity enriches the collective in the form of food, music, art, language and traditions. There are many forms of diversity from seeds to small businesses. Politicians must find ways to make the system fair and work for everyone.
11 Use edges and value the marginal: There is no correct way to be human. In fairytales there is always the hero’s encounter with an old hag or some form of lowly creature that could easily be ignored or abused. True hero always show compassion, share a merger meal or make mental note of the wisdom of the words offered. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in a story. Do not give a bully your vote as their story never ends well.
12 Creatively use and respond to change: Change happens. Those who can observe and learn from change are able to creatively respond. Listen to what politicians say but also to the story of how they have lived their life. Those who have creatively navigated deep waters are always more interesting than those who’ve lived in the shallow end of the pool.
Last but not least- VOTE!