[Sdpg] Return from Brazil, International Permaculture Conference

Santa Barbara Permaculture Network sbpcnet at silcom.com
Tue Jun 19 07:52:05 PDT 2007

Wes Roe and I have just returned from Brazil where we participated in the 8th
International Permaculture Conference (IPC8, www.ipc8.org).  We will share and
report our experiences soon, but for now here is a brief report from Robyn
Francis from Australia we thought you might enjoy reading.  

Thanks to all who helped with the fundraising efforts to get the African
delegates to Brazil, they were successful in getting the bid to host the next
International Permaculture Conference!   This is a very big deal, the first
the conference will be held on the African continent, a very active
permaculture region, with great human resources, PC courses being taught there
for over twenty years.  We were honored to meet a very talented, organized,
exemplary group.  The next IPC couldn't be in better hands.  We are part of an
international support group, so will be sharing more information about the IPC
and some of the areas we can all assist, for although there are great human
resources, there are also great needs, we from the "first world" can assist
with things large and small if our hearts are moved.  One of our new friends
Julius, for instance, desperately needs a laptop computer to help in his
work in
Zimbawe, please contact us if you have one you no longer need or can help
fund a
new one.

Margie Bushman
Santa Barbara Permaculture Network

IPC8- Brazil
A Brief report by Robyn Francis

The 8th International Permaculture Convergence in Brazil in May 2007 was a
resounding success, with permaculture practitioners and representatives from
42 countries attending to share their work and experience. The 3-day public
conference was symbolically held in the green heart of Sao Paulo, the
world¹s third largest city. The conference theme of Greening Economics
brought together bankers, financiers and grassroots economists with the
permaculture movement. Presentation topics included ethical banking, the
economic challenges of climate change, potential and pitfalls of carbon
trading and taxing strategies, corporate social responsibility, local and
complementary currencies and inspiring first-hand accounts of community
responses to economic crisis from Argentina and Cuba.

Highlights included Brock Dolman (USA) inspiring and thought provoking
presentation on water and Paul Stamets revelations about the cutting edge of
fungi research brought the entire 400-strong audience to its feet with a
standing ovation. Roberto Perez presentation on the Cuba experience balanced
humour and probing insights into the potential for community response to
crisis and the ongoing challenges facing Cuba.

In acknowledgement of the multilingual nature of conference participants and
presenters, all delegates were issued with headphones for simultaneous
translation of proceedings into English, Spanish and Portugese. The venue
included a permaculture tradefair of mainly Latin American permaculture
groups, institutes and projects, beautiful bamboo installations functioned
as spacial screens and display boards for international delegates to present
visual poster displays. The sheer number of young Brazilians attending the
conference was in itself inspiring, as was their concern and enthusiasm to
embrace permaculture strategies for sustainability.

It was an exceptional honour for me to be invited to give a keynote
presentation on the opening day of the conference on Permaculture Solutions
and provide a local to global perspective on the range of activities
permaculture is involved in. I was also privileged to close the conference
with a premier performance of Supplication to Gaia from my new music CD.

The entire conference was professionally filmed and edited footage will be
available soon for those who could not attend to tap into the sheer wealth
of information and inspiration shared during the event.

>From Sau Paulo we made our way north to Pirenoupolis, near the capital of
Brasilia for the 4-day Permaculture Designers Convergence hosted by IPEC
The convergence is the professional in-house event of our national
conferencing and here we enjoyed a balance of plenary sessions,
presentations on permaculture project work and discussions exploring
permaculture responses and strategies for a changing world.

The IPEC site was in itself an inspiring example of permaculture in practice
with extensive gardens, educational displays and innovative examples of
alternative architecture and natural buildings infused with creativity and
every structure a work of art in its own right. A large brick dome
auditorium for the plenaries amply seated the 150-plus delegates, and
workshop stations included 2 large temporary geodesic domes erected for the
occasion. It was quite a dilemma trying to choose between 4 stations of
concurrent workshop presentations.

Some of the most powerful presententations were of the amazing dedication
and work of permaculturists in places such as Uganda, central India, Nepal
and the struggles of rebuilding war-torn Cambodia. Central and South
American projects were well represented and the three Cuban delegates gave
an inspiring presentation on urban food production and update on organic
farming and environmental issues facing Cuba.

The Cubans expressed sincere thanks to the support of Australian
permaculture trainers who brought permaculture concepts to Cuba in the early
1990¹s and have requested support for advanced training and workshops with
urban planners on integrated urban design for Havana and other Cuban
population centres.

The plenary session on education commenced with an overview of the
Accredited Permaculture Training in Australia, which generated keen
interest from educators in other countries regarding this form of vocational
education and training. Gaia University presented on the new possibilities
of gaining higher degrees in Permaculture.

A short article cannot do justice to the wealth of information and
experience shared during this exceptional and truly international event. The
number of young permaculturists present represented a major generational
shift in the movement and encouragement for the future of permaculture as an
effective means of instigating effective change and responses to a planet in
crisis through mobilising communities and developing partnerships with
government and non-government organizations around the world.

The next IPC will be held in South Africa and Malawi in April 2009.

Robyn Francis, Australia, June 2007

Santa Barbara Permaculture Network
(805) 962-2571
P.O. Box 92156, Santa Barbara, CA 93190
margie at sbpermaculture.com

"We are like trees, we must create new leaves, in new directions, in order to
grow." - Anonymous

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