... by Robyn Francis, 2010
Building on the unity within diversity
I arrived home yesterday exhausted and exhilarated from the 4-day Australasian Permaculture Convergence in Kuranda. I wanted to start letting people know what a great event this had been. I wasn't ready to write at length so simply logged onto Facebook and posted the following status to
encapsulate my sentiments.
[quote author="Robyn Francis, 2010" image="http://permacultureaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/rf-portraitcrop-usa-santab2009-236x300.jpg" w="300"]Home from APC10 and in the hammock enjoying a sun shower sparkling droplets, sounds of water & distant thunder, so stunningly beautiful for all the senses... recovering and reflecting on a great convergence and a new milestone in Permaculture history as a pivotal event marking a new era of collaboration, embracing and building on the unity within the diversity :)[/quote]
APC10 brought together a convergence of over three thousand years of collective permaculture experience and cumulative wisdom. This Australasian Permaculture Convergence had delegates from all Australian states and territories, East Timor, Bali, New Zealand and as far afield as Latin America and Africa. The group represented a stimulating diversity of ages (teens to eighties), cultures, climates and fields of practice, from fresh PDC graduates to permaculture elders, and included a few notable celebrities.
The program included the usual inspiring and informative presentations and discussions, there were a number of key streams including education, humanitarian, agriculture, urban, indigenous and a range of other disparate and diverse topics, not to forget the lively discourses at the 'Wet Topics Bar' at sundown and late evenings.
There had been much pre-APC10 discussion about the national organisation of Permaculture, the need for a national body and how this might be achieved. Permaculture North (Sydney) had developed a detailed model, which was circulate pre-convergence. PIL (Permaculture International Ltd) had also, as a result of previous convergence requests, proposed to change its name to Permaculture Australia and invite the movement to redesign and restructure the organisation and memberships to more effectively meet the needs of the Australian pc community.
The presentation of these two initiatives at APC10 left many with the initial impression of two opposing or adversarial proposals with potential for fracturing the process. A group of concerned and skilled negotiators and conflict resolvers quickly brought together the key parties and respected Permaculture 'elders' to map the perceived 'conflict' and find a common accord, as ultimately we are all working towards the same thing. Within our diversity lies an underlying unity, through embracing and celebrating our diversity we can build on the strength of our common ground.
On the final day a participatory design and consultative process gave all participants an opportunity to have input into defining the needs and functions of local and national bodies to further Permaculture and a steering group formed to take the outcome into solid proposals and actions. It was an important process and indicator of the maturity of the movement that what could have easily become an adversarial situation was expediently resolved and an outcome achieved that reflected a broad consensus.
There are so many wonderful people to thank and I have avoided mentioning any names in this reflection. To mention only a few would be a disservice to the many, to attempt to list all would result in a very long list with a risk of omitting some.
This is not intended to be a detailed report exploring the specific presentations and outcomes, these will emerge from numerous attendees over the coming days, weeks months.
We can look forward to the APC11 being hosted in New Zealand in 2012.