Optimal Sustainablity in Suburbs and Exurbs

A new posting in Permaculture.

Introducing Permaculture to our property, to the Woollies and to whomever else may find it interesting.

6/29/08  Coda to this project

The last few months have given me a different perspective on this project.  Optimal sustainability rather than permaculture per se is my goal.  What is that?

Optimal sustainability occupies a position between permaculture on the one hand and the normative American lifestyle on the other.  In particular I will focus on the kind of environment I inhabit, the suburban and exurban ring.  How can persons living in suburbs and exurbs across America, indeed, across the world, think of their residential choice in terms of global sustainability?  That is, how can we recognize that the vast bulk of persons so situated will not become back-to-the-landers with the requisite chicken coop, bee-hives, orchard and bountiful garden?

How can we find a mix of things to do, choices to make that can reduce energy expenditures and increase the amount of food produced at home or in nearby (neighborhood or cul-de-sac) locations?  How, in other words, can we create a menu of achievable actions that will change the normative American suburban/exurban lifestyle as much as possible without creating resistance?  What values need examination and careful, positive critique?  How can we make optimal sustainability sexy, fun, normative?

This is the project I want to engage.  It will require that I learn the permaculture work, that I learn more about the suburban/exurban situation in which I live.  It will require that I recruit allies from across the political spectrum.  Sounds like fun to me.