Culture and Monoculture in the perspective of Permaculture

Accepting and using biodiversity is one of the main drives in Permaculture. The idea in increasing the richness of an ecosystem is to diversify outputs and opportunities, use nature self monitoring and resilience and benefit from ecosystems services (water recycling, air purity, soil fertility, …).

Biodiversity applies at elements level inside an ecosystem but as well between ecosystems. An ecosystem can be divided in sub-ecosystems with different properties, elements and interactions. Valuing biodiversity means as well valuing the plurality of ecosystems.

The recognition of biodiversity as a necessity in Permaculture community is transposed in a higher level of consideration when it comes to culture and human exchanges. Then we talk about differences, specificity, integration, exchanges, synergies, creativity.

Monoculture is failing to deliver on the long term, showing its non sustainability by denying nature mechanisms. Sub products of monoculture are sterility, lack of taste, lack of nutrients, air, soil and water pollution, loss of agricultural knowledge, dependence on mortgage and subventions, etc… It uses scale economy, brute force (fossil fuel) and transform potential partners in competitors. Over time monoculture not only transform a land in desert but as well destroy the local socioeconomic landscape.

Let’s define a comparison in order to better understand the shift between culture and monoculture and use another systemic domain : social network.

Facebook is the typical example of monoculture as an ecosystem. You may argue that such an ecosystem is a cradle for creativity and diversity. It seems to me that it is the opposite. Many mechanisms are embedded there to repress freedom and creativity.

– Advertisement format people,
– Knowing that your data will be used for profits or to profile you, checking if you are edible for a certain job, create self censure,
– NSA spying on your private data with the benediction of Facebook distill political fear in what you say,
– Social censure push people to remain silent on what really matter for them and talk about their adorable cat or the horrible one from the neighbor,
– Multimedia Interconnection engage people to spend their time smiling and self photographing, showing how beautiful, happy and valuable friends they are.

Since Facebook is a profit company which does not really give a damn about the material they use to make its profit (meaning people) it creates many reactions in the public and some tentative to propose alternatives.

Here it seems that journalists talking about Facebook alternatives choose to ignore consciously the problem. The particularity of Facebook and its alternatives is not the design, the features, the response time, or the fact that 30 000 pioneers decided to use another Social Network since it is adds free, it is because it HAS TO BE THE ONLY ONE for ensuring a global connectivity.

The same apply with monoculture. The paradigm is then a variant, it is not exactly about high scale connectivity like in Facebook but high scale economy and logistic to get the benefits from Taylorism and produce cheap low quality products that people can afford.

So what would be the solution to move from Facebook monoculture to social network plurality ? The answer seems one-fold; an open source browser (e.g. Firefox) and specialized add-on, able to automatically interact with various social network platform at the same time. One photo shared on Facebook would then be uploaded automatically to google+ and other more attractive or specialized social network platform, ads free or with better design or functionality and based on specific community of interest. With time, people would choose more competitive platforms having no effort to make to exist in various place at the same time. In a second step, the browser could become the avatar repository (Face of the book) navigating in various social networks (Books of the faces).

In this case the way to get rid of monoculture is people empowerment by adding an intelligent layer inside the browsing capability.

Coming back to monoculture and Permaculture it seems to be the same. The only way to get rid of monoculture is farmer empowerment with a technology based on better design, an efficient toolbox and the addition of a monitoring layer in the form of the mechanisms of nature and biodiversity.

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