Sense-making in a Changing World

Episode 29: Permaculture and Cultural Emergence with Looby Macnamara and Morag Gamble

February 14, 2021 Morag Gamble: Permaculture Education Institute Season 2 Episode 29
Sense-making in a Changing World
Episode 29: Permaculture and Cultural Emergence with Looby Macnamara and Morag Gamble
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Sense-making in a Changing World
Episode 29: Permaculture and Cultural Emergence with Looby Macnamara and Morag Gamble
Feb 14, 2021 Season 2 Episode 29
Morag Gamble: Permaculture Education Institute

It is my delight to welcome permaculture teacher and author, Looby Macnamara from England back to the Sense-Making in a Changing World show to explore her timely new book Cultural Emergence: Toolkit for Transforming Ourselves & the World which is full of resources, strategies and ideas we need in the world now.

Last time Looby and I recorded a conversation (and I had no voice!) we were in her garden in England (in pre-covid times). This conversation recorded over zoom is really part 2 - a follow up now that her 4th book has been released by Permanent Publications who also produce the Permaculture Magazine

Looby is a thought leader and innovator in the social permaculture space and has been teaching permaculture for nearly 20 years. Her first book was the first to focus on the people care ethic People & Permaculture. Looby is also author of 7 Ways to Think Differently and Strands of Infinity.

As well as running the Applewood Permaculture Centre with her partner Chris Evans and 2 daughters, she is also one of the partners of the European Mother Nature project and is an active member of the UK permaculture community.

  • You can purchase Cultural Emergence here in Australia, or here in the UK from Permanent Publications.
  • You can also now freely download her wonderful little book 7 Ways to Think Differently as an ebook here.

Find out more about permaculture
Looby's contribution to permaculture is significant - dive into her website and books to find out more. You can also learn about permaculture by exploring the many free permaculture resources in Our Permaculture Life Youtube and blog.  We definitely need more permaculture teachers everywhere to restore balance to earth's systems, and to help facilitate cultural emergence and regenerative practices.

I invite you to join the Permaculture Educators Program with others from 6 continents - a comprehensive online course that includes the Permaculture Design Certificate and the only online Permaculture Teacher Certificate anywhere.

To support free permaculture education for people in refugee camps please donate to Ethos Foundation - our registered charity associated. We invite young people to join the Global Permayouth Festivals each month.

If your main interest is getting a thriving and abundant food garden set up take a look at my online permaculture gardening course: The Incredible Edible Garden.

Warmest,
Morag Gamble

I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which I live and work - the Gubbi Gubbi people.

Thank you to Rhiannon Gamble for sound editing and Kim Kirkman for the music.

Show Notes Transcript

It is my delight to welcome permaculture teacher and author, Looby Macnamara from England back to the Sense-Making in a Changing World show to explore her timely new book Cultural Emergence: Toolkit for Transforming Ourselves & the World which is full of resources, strategies and ideas we need in the world now.

Last time Looby and I recorded a conversation (and I had no voice!) we were in her garden in England (in pre-covid times). This conversation recorded over zoom is really part 2 - a follow up now that her 4th book has been released by Permanent Publications who also produce the Permaculture Magazine

Looby is a thought leader and innovator in the social permaculture space and has been teaching permaculture for nearly 20 years. Her first book was the first to focus on the people care ethic People & Permaculture. Looby is also author of 7 Ways to Think Differently and Strands of Infinity.

As well as running the Applewood Permaculture Centre with her partner Chris Evans and 2 daughters, she is also one of the partners of the European Mother Nature project and is an active member of the UK permaculture community.

  • You can purchase Cultural Emergence here in Australia, or here in the UK from Permanent Publications.
  • You can also now freely download her wonderful little book 7 Ways to Think Differently as an ebook here.

Find out more about permaculture
Looby's contribution to permaculture is significant - dive into her website and books to find out more. You can also learn about permaculture by exploring the many free permaculture resources in Our Permaculture Life Youtube and blog.  We definitely need more permaculture teachers everywhere to restore balance to earth's systems, and to help facilitate cultural emergence and regenerative practices.

I invite you to join the Permaculture Educators Program with others from 6 continents - a comprehensive online course that includes the Permaculture Design Certificate and the only online Permaculture Teacher Certificate anywhere.

To support free permaculture education for people in refugee camps please donate to Ethos Foundation - our registered charity associated. We invite young people to join the Global Permayouth Festivals each month.

If your main interest is getting a thriving and abundant food garden set up take a look at my online permaculture gardening course: The Incredible Edible Garden.

Warmest,
Morag Gamble

I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which I live and work - the Gubbi Gubbi people.

Thank you to Rhiannon Gamble for sound editing and Kim Kirkman for the music.

Morag Gamble:

Welcome to the Sense-making in a Changing World Podcast, where we explore the kind of thinking we need to navigate a positive way forward. I’m your host Morag Gamble.. Permaculture Educator, and Global Ambassador, Filmmaker, Eco villager, Food Forester, Mother, Practivist and all-around lover of thinking, communicating and acting regeneratively. For a long time it's been clear to me that to shift trajectory to a thriving one planet way of life we first need to shift our thinking, the way we perceive ourselves in relation to nature, self, and community is the core. So this is true now more than ever. And even the way change is changing, is changing. Unprecedented changes are happening all around us at a rapid pace. So how do we make sense of this? To know which way to turn, to know what action to focus on? So our efforts are worthwhile and nourishing and are working towards resilience, regeneration, and reconnection.

Morag:

What better way to make sense than to join together with others in open generative conversation. In this podcast, I'll share conversations with my friends and colleagues, people who inspire and challenge me in their ways of thinking, connecting and acting. These wonderful people are thinkers, doers, activists, scholars, writers, leaders, farmers, educators, people whose work informs permaculture and spark the imagination of what a post-COVID, climate-resilient, socially just future could look like. Their ideas and projects help us to make sense in this changing world to compost and digest the ideas and to nurture the fertile ground for new ideas, connections and actions. Together we'll open up conversations in the world of permaculture design, regenerative thinking community action, earth repair, eco-literacy, and much more. I can't wait to share these conversations with you.

Morag Gamble:

Over the last three decades of personally making sense of the multiple crises we face I always returned to the practical and positive world of permaculture with its ethics of earth care, people care and fair share. I've seen firsthand how adaptable and responsive it can be in all contexts from urban to rural, from refugee camps to suburbs. It helps people make sense of what's happening around them and to learn accessible design tools, to shape their habitat positively and to contribute to cultural and ecological regeneration. This is why I've created the Permaculture Educators Program to help thousands of people to become permaculture teachers everywhere through an interactive online dual certificate of permaculture design and teaching. We sponsor global Permayouth programs, women's self help groups in the global South and teens in refugee camps. So anyway, this podcast is sponsored by the Permaculture Education Institute and our Permaculture Educators Program. If you'd like to find more about permaculture, I've created a four-part permaculture video series to explain what permaculture is and also how you can make it your livelihood as well as your way of life. We'd love to invite you to join a wonderfully inspiring, friendly and supportive global learning community. So I welcome you to share each of these conversations, and I'd also like to suggest you create a local conversation circle to explore the ideas shared in each show and discuss together how this makes sense in your local community and environment. I'd like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which I meet and speak with you today. The Gubbi Gubbi people and pay my respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

Morag:

So this week on the show, I welcome back a good friend and fellow permaculture teacher, Looby Macnamara. She runs the Applewood Permaculture Centre in the UK, a permaculture teaching space with her family, and she's also authored four books. So, her first book was People & Permaculture, u h, followed by a fabulous little book called 7 Ways to Think Differently, which she tells me is just about to be released as a free e book. So, I'll give you information down below of how you can access that. She wrote a poetry book, u m, called the Strands of infinity, but her latest book, which is the book that we're talking about here in this conversation has just been released by Permanent Publications called Cultural Emergence. So essentially it's a toolkit for regeneration. She gives a whole lot of principles and processes that support us to actually help to work towards this cultural emergence. S o, Looby has been a permaculture teacher for a couple of decades now and her focus has been particularly on developing the work around social permaculture around the people care ethic. And this book i n this conversation is really an extension of that into looking at not just individuals, but together, how we can start to shift cultures in a way that is going to help us to address the climate crisis. And in fact in her book, she writes, the climate crisis is a symptom of a cultural crisis. And so the response is actually working at that cultural level. So grab a cuppa, sit back and I hope you enjoy this conversation with Looby as much as I di d.

Morag Gamble:

So thanks for joining me on the show again, Looby. Last time you were on the show , I was actually at your place and over in England at Applewood Permaculture Centre. And , I don't think I had a voice then. So this time it's really nice to actually be able to talk to you properly rather than the kind of , a whisper that I had. So , anyway, before we get started, I just wanted to check in, too with you. You've been in lockdown almost since I saw you last. How are you going? How's things in your part of the world?

Looby Macnamara :

Yeah. I think, no, I think you were here a year before, I don't think it's been quite that long.

Morag Gamble:

Gosh, the year has flown. That's right. It was almost..

Looby Macnamara :

Yeah . Yeah. So it was , cause it was we both got children who have the same birthday and it was near their birthday. But yes, we have been, it has been nearly a year of lockdowns relaxed , you know, trying to get back to normal and back to lockdown. So it's been 11 months now of kind of complete pattern disruption on so many different levels. I mean, I lean into the practice of gratitude and that's been really helpful, but in these times to just appreciate that and to understand what's happening in terms of pattern disruption, and how it's impacting us on different levels.

Morag:

And I think your work started with permaculture and then evolved into social permaculture and now , you're describing it as cultural emergence. And I want to sort of dive into that and unpack that a bit as we go along. But I just wonder, you've mentioned pattern disruption and in that context of cultural emergence , um, what's been your observation or your thoughts around COVID pattern disruption and cultural emergence. What are you, where's your mind going with that?

Looby:

Well , um, if we start with my working definition of culture as this complex web of patterns of seen and unseen patterns of thinking, behaving, feeling, interacting and if we think of that as cultures , you know, there's many definitions of culture, but that's one I like to use. And during , pre-COVID times that complex web of patterns is quite fixed and quite stable. It moves, it moves through the seasons. It does move, but what's happened during COVID is that that pattern has become completely unraveled because it's web of patterns . So you change one thing and then suddenly all the other patterns shift. So you change your work patterns and then your eating patterns change and then your sleeping patterns change. And then you start to question your values and your beliefs and things that were unseen before I've started to come up to the surface, like global inequalities, like the distance that it feels comfortable to be talking to a stranger or close friend or an acquaintance that we had unseen patterns of where we would stand in relation to someone. And we probably didn't give it much thought until someone stood too close and you're like, I don't really know you that well, why are you standing so close? But now since COVID, of course we're all really aware of how close we're standing to someone. And it's like, okay, I'm , uh , I know that I'm only socially distanced enough when it feels awkward. So all these patterns and these values and these cultural priorities have come to the surface and they haven't quite landed yet for people , into, you know, or some of them have, but then they keep on changing again, like, Oh , okay, well, you know, our children have gone into school and then they come out of school and now they're doing online schooling, but in a different way to how they were before. So it's just constant pattern disruption, which can be quite tiring for people. And in cultural emergence, I've talked about 3 different phases and we need to have them in balance for this fertile cultural emergence to happen. And one of the phases is , challenge and awaken. And this is where you get pattern disruption, you get awareness of culture, you get awareness of systems and how interconnected , all these systems are. And those are all practices that will help activate the challenge and awaken phase. And we've gone into this global challenge and awakened phase that has made us feel challenged and awaken, even if we're not struggling in terms of our health or finances or work. Although a lot of people are struggling in one area or another, but even if we're not, we still are immersed in this collective challenge and awaken phase . And then the other two phases are the move and invigorate and nourish and empower. And those phases are not getting as well activated. And so we're a bit out of balance. So that would be one of the things that we kind of collectively need to do is to bring those other phases more to the forefront, to balance it, and to help us e merge the regenerative culture that we want.

Morag:

Something that you wrote in your, in your book that I really liked. Well , it's lots of things that I really liked , but there's one point just connected to that. It's a sense of that we have , uh , we have a collective sense that the culture is something out there. Whereas how you're describing is actually something about how it's our relationship with the patterns that we're connected. You want to just talk about that a little bit about. Like how it can really be seated in that sense of culture so that we can then be a collaborator for that emergence.

Looby:

Yeah , it's true. It's culture is one of these words that we use all the time, but we're not very sure how to define it, or when we tend to think of it as, you know, our country or something really quite big and immutable really. Um, and, and actually, if we go back to that definition of the complex web of seen and unseen patterns, we see that we are , we all have our own unique, complex web of patterns that comes from all the different cultures we're part of. And if we think of , in permaculture, we talk about microclimates and the we're really aware of how the micro climate, even on the same piece of land can be very different from where it's the sunny part of the land and the shady part and the wind tunnel and the frost pocket. And they're all these different micro-climates within a larger climate. And we can think of the same thing with, in terms of culture that where there's many cultures nested within each other . So we might be part of , um, you know, I might be culture part of the, we are part of the macro culture of being a woman, which is a global culture and part of the culture speaking English, then we're part of very different cultures, whether you being in Australia and me being in the UK, I'm in winter here with all my warm clothes on the beginning of the day, and you're in Australia and the heat at the end of the day. So we've , we've got different macro climates.. Macro, and micro climates, as well as mac,ro micro cultures. And the smallest micro culture is yourself. And I'm sure most people, even when they think of it in this way of being a complex web of patterns, they recognize that their complex web of patterns is different from their partner's or their children or their flatmates or their parents. And when you start thinking about it like that, it seems obvious. Yes, I've got a very unique, complex web of patterns that no one else has. And some of those patterns I will have inherited from my parents, some from the media, some from my friends, some from my education , my dietary choices, all sorts of different places that I inherit parts of that web of complex patterns that makes this unique mosaic that is very specific to myself.

Morag:

Hmm . I wanna jump to like a big culture, a way of thinking, I suppose, another point that you mentioned in your book was that the climate crisis - I'm just going to read it here. "The climate crisis is just one symptom of the deep cultural crisis." And I thought that was a really interesting statement because, you know, often we point to the climate, you know, this is the issue and what you're describing as it's a symptom of something broken in that system of relationships. And I was going to also ask you kind of about, well, where is it that we're stuck and maybe that's part of this. Like we have a cultural crisis and where is that stuckness and how do we come unstuck?

Looby:

I mean, part of that is that there's these unseen patterns. So we start thinking of the seen patterns of behavior and pointing fingers at that, that those things need changing. But those things arise from the unseen patterns that the beliefs, the priorities, the cultural tolerances that we have. And the thing is that we tend to perceive those as - if we do perceive them at all - we tend to think of them as quite fixed and cultural givens that our political system, for example, will act in this way. Whereas they're not givens, they could be different, but we need to , explore them a bit more, bring them to the light and question them and say, well, is that really what I want? So I want to , like on a personal scale, maybe we have , you know, the pattern of having , uh, a mid-morning snack. And we keep that pattern, which used to be really relevant to us when we'd get up seven o'clock in the morning and have breakfast then, and cycle to work, and then need a mid morning snack to keep us going. But maybe where they're now working from home, getting up two hours later, but we're still having that snack and not questioning it. Do we need it? Is it still serving us that pattern and on a much bigger scale than we've got these political systems that aren't actually serving the climate, they're not serving the people they're not fit for purpose anymore, but how do we change them? How do we actually come to the realization that they're not serving us? And we define them, which is of course, huge questions to ask even that , even that understanding that it is a cultural issue helps us to look in the right direction for solutions.

Morag:

I was just going to ask you, you know, what do you think are some of those starting points of helping us to get unstuck from a cultural emergence perspective? And I think what you just said then is that awareness and seeing where sort of the root of the challenges that we can start to sort of build up some, a different approach. You know, one of your previous books was , 7 Ways To Think Differently. And in a way it's absolutely that, I mean, in order to solve issues that we're facing right now and bring the change that we need, it's not about throwing tech at it. It's actually about thinking differently. And then if we have tech , it fits within that different thought pattern, the different way of perceiving our relationships in our cultures and, and , uh, and our understanding. So, you know, you've been very much focused on that ways of thinking differently, I know that you embedded that too, in, in cultural emergence , your book, I saw that you've included the seven ways of thinking differently there. So, maybe if you could just mention a little bit about, about the seven ways of thinking differently and a little bit around that idea of yeah where do we start with that? So using the different thinking.. What flows from that as some starting points that people can kind of grab a hold of, like maybe even some practical examples of how you've utilized it in, you know, like your community. I know you've got something you call the great collaboration, you know, in your local area. What, what does that manifest like in a community?

Looby:

Yeah. So the, the origin of seven ways to think differently was thinking about what permaculture has given to so many of us beyond the garden, that actually, yes, we have gone into our gardens or farms or small holdings, and we designed them and, you know , created these really healthy, productive systems. So it's like, how do we create healthy, productive systems in our businessses, in our relationship? And we do that through shifting those thought patterns that then enable us to manifest differently out into the world. And then it was like , okay. So if permaculture is a way of thinking differently, what does that actually mean? And that's where I categorized it into the seven different ways of thinking. Sorry, I've lost your question.

Morag:

I know it was a very big question. Sorry about that. I was.. what I was , um, what I was asking after that was, so we, we need to be thinking differently and the seven ways of thinking is a fantastic way to sort of be able to see that and see that different type of thinking. When I read through it, I was just, it's a great little book and it's so clear, and it helps us to understand that the next part of the question was really around well, so if we understand about thinking differently, how does that then translate into how we could start to act differently? What's that call to action and where, what are some of starting that? Like, how do we action that new collaboration , uh , and, you know, maybe you've got some examples of something that you've seen working in that way.

Looby:

Yeah. So I think it is bringing a whole kind of level of different understanding to how we approach life. And that really then ripples out from there in to all the behaviors we have and to be able to make that connection between how we're thinking. I know also how we're conditioned thinking, because each of the ways of thinking that I identified had a corresponding kind of mainstream narrative around it, and like a negative mainstream narrative that fed like the opposite beliefs. So for example, the first way of thinking is abundance thinking. And we are fed as consumers with our adverts or around scarcity thinking that what we have isn't enough. So the home we have the sofa, we have it isn't big enough. Isn't comfortable enough. You know , it'slike this thing of not enough is the narrative that we are constantly fed with all the advertising. That is how advertising works is it says what you have, isn't enough, you need this. And it is quite subtle to understand that that is the message we're being constantly fed. Once you engage with that. And , um, you know, I'm sure many people listening to this will already know it, and then many people will also be able to really identify it as soon as it's kind of brought to awareness as soon as it moves from the unseen to the seen. And , so shifting to abundance thinking so within permaculture is more about valuing what we have and shifting our thinking from that's waste to how can that be used and become resources that shift from waste to resources from something being liability to an asset from being a problem to solution that that thinking comes from abundance, thinking it doesn't come from scarcity thinking and being grateful for what we have is a part of that abundance thinking. It's the doorway into abundance thinking. So when we become aware of these unseen patterns and this links in with the work of cultural emergencies to recognize the cultural conditioning that we have, that all of us are constantly being culturally conditioned. And when we recognize that, whether we can start stable, how would we actually like that conditioning to work and start reprogramming our thinking patterns that then reprogram how we operate in the world. So that's very , um, awareness of culture and awareness of all thinking patterns that we've been conditioned with, help us to unpick that conditioning to actually question it, is that really my own beliefs? Or is that something I've been conditioned with that questioning to just pick?

Morag:

So Looby.. Where did that come for you? What began your thinking in this direction? How did you find permaculture and what kind of fuels your flame to continue this work? Because you've also been doing this for a very long time. So what is your inner flame with this?

Looby:

I'll start with my journey with permaculture, and then carry on to the second interesting question about what fans my flame. I did my permaculture culture design course when I was doing my university degree. And there's a huge contrast between my university degree, which was human sciences, and it was anything with an ology, ecology, anthropology , biology, philosophy , and they were all quite separate things. And then I'd go to my permaculture course, which I did over weekends. So I'd be doing university Monday to Friday and then come to Saturday. And I had so much fun during my permaculture design course. So there was a lot of fun and collaborative learning and a lot of recognition that we don't know all the answers, which was quite a contrast to university where, you know, we were kind of expected to regurgitate lots of the answers and not give our own ideas in that . Um, and the other thing that permaculture did was it made these threads of connection between the ecology between anthropology, between the philosophy and made lots of threads of connection there, which , was really valuable. So I came to permaculture not as a garden as my first experience and the delight of growing my first crop of Swiss chard and being able to eat it. But that was the only crop I grew. Um, and it was, it, it was the way it was taught that really captured my imagination and made me think, yes, this is what I want to carry on doing. And then after teaching for a while, it was like, I heard it several times this point that we have earth care. So we have all the earth care solutions we need on the planet for fast earth care and repair. We have those existing already, we don't need more solutions. We know how to plant trees. We know how to collect rain water. We know how to grow food. That's not what's limiting us. It's the people care that's limiting us. And what is it about the people is it's about every single level from our own personal energy up to international politics. It limits us in so many different ways. So with permaculture , as you know, when we have a limit, we flip it around. So limit becomes a need for our design. So we need more people care. We need to examine our culture. We need to examine our thinking. We need to examine the cultural narratives that have led us to where we are at the moment. And so that's been my journey to really focus our attention on that. Because I do believe that if we can shift our thinking, if we can shift those cultural narratives, that then we will shift direction. I love your arrows there in the background, you know, the food forest. You know, it's like where's your , where are we pointing with our cultural narratives? What do we believe? What are the priorities, what is our role to play within that cultural narrative as well?

Looby Macnamara :

So , we haven't yet spoken about this word emergence, but I think this is where the answer to the next question of what keeps me inspired and keeps me going, and it's this concept of emergence, which is a systems time . And it's when we put things together. So we have this one, plus one equals one - sorry, one plus one equals three. So it's like more than the sum of the parts. And that is synergy . It's like, we get more, that there is more of the same and with emergence , we have this indefinable leap to something different that has some emergent properties. We have one plus one equals blue, or a spiral or something unimaginable that wasn't present for in the one, the one or the one. It's something completely different. And it is like this whole quantum leap. And we, you know, we have emergence around us all the time with the water we drink . We can't tell from looking at this, that this is hydrogen and oxygen here. And it has all these different properties that neither hydrogen or oxygen have, and it's all life force and, you know , emergences around us so much that we take it for granted and we don't see it anymore, but I believe that when we contribute and we give our gifts into the greater whole, when we start moving together and we start acting more like a starling murmuration like something getting conflicted and pulling in different directions. When we start moving like that, you know, that we will create this harmony that will actually move us into this whole different way of being on the planet that will move us away from this climate emergency into a nourishing, fertile cultural emergence. And that's what gives me hope that that can happen. And that the more we find our gifts, the more we contribute, the more we hold on to that vision, the more likely it is to happen.

Morag:

So I wanted to ask you too. You mentioned in your book about deep adaptation, if you could just describe how you see the relationship between permaculture, deep adaptation, cultural emergence, and maybe something too about the pace of change. And are we moving fast enough. Is our current pace of addressing it through, you know, the small and slow solutions. Where do you see the permaculture solution fitting in that the need for a quite dramatic shift really in how we're doing it. And I think, you know, like we've all been thrown into, you know, like you're saying, the disruptive force of COVID has given has kind of like cracked open enormous possibilities for something to really shift quite dramatically. But I'd just love to hear from you, like, with that deep adaptation, particularly in that climate response to an extinction, you know, we've got the extinction, we've got the climate, all these discussions were happening and particularly strongly in the UK before COVID, and then just where you feel we need to move with that.

Looby:

There is kind of many levels on and if I focus on my own personal level and what I see happening with course participants, with friends on community level and how we can really move tremendously and really shine and really find our life purpose and, you know, feel grounded that was really helpful then on the bigger level of the planet as a whole, and the trust that I have to adapt and respond and to be resilient and come back from what's thrown at is that's really comforting and grounding as well. This is sort of at the level, that is, I think for lots of people. Most challenging is when we focus on the political level and the sort of larger scale cultural levels and how that feels quite disempowering and disheartening. And the conversations are happening there, let alone the solutions being found or even focusing on the right problems. Soyou know that can be really difficult.

Morag:

So you're talking about the bigger picture. We talked about exploring sort of that pace of change or the scale of change, but you also talked about cultural emergence being about creating lasting change. And I think this is a really important part that it is about, it is much about local, this about deep change and lasting change. And I think this is a really important part of what you're talking about, isn't it?

Looby:

Yeah. So with cultural emergence, it isn't an end point, a destination that we're heading for. One of the premises of culture emergence is that there is an ongoing process that we have to continually be redefining our culture and checking is moving in the direction that we wanted to, which is part of the problem. It is being quite static in some ways, of course, in all the ways for those of us that can remember life pre-internet, of course it's dramatic shifts there but has the political system changed over that time? It hasn't really so there's .. It's this ongoing process of examining our culture, redefining itwithin the current context, which changes as well. And, you know, this is the question is, are we acting quick enough? Well, no. Um , you know, we, as our political systems, as a global community, no, we're not working quick enough. We're still suggesting solutions that come from the same , cultural narrative. So the shift from petrol cars to electric vehicles isn't going to solve the climate crisis. It's just kind of replacing one problem with another problem. It's like, actually, how can we, you know, invest in public transport? How can we l ocalize? How can we meet our needs more locally? Those are the questions that we need to be asking. So it, it can feel quite frustrating about the pace of change. And you asked about deep adaptation and I can see the value in having that awareness that, you know, huge collapse can happen. U m, it also maybe is a bit more, i s a bit disempowering for people. On the one hand, on the other hand, it can feel like that's the only way it's going to go. And the only way how we're going to kind of break out of this trance that we're in as humans, that we are in control, that we are the most important species on the planet, those kind of beliefs that are shaping how we act on the planet a t the moment a nd, and bringing us to destructive ways.

Morag:

So I want to just come back into your book because your book is full of principles and processes and tools. So it really is a kind of like a guide to help us along this journey. Can you just share a little bit about what kind of tools and processes people will find in there to help them to get into in a deeper way.

Looby:

Hmm. Yeah, there's like keystone practices. So things that will really activate the phases that I talked about to the beginning and we've got awareness of culture and sensing systems, which are the keystone practices for the challenge and awaken phase. And then the move and invigorate phase is the keystone practices manifesting through design and actions . So that's the shift with the design and thinking things through. And we do this a lot in permaculture is actually design systems. So we think through the connections, we think through our vision on our limits and resources , patterns and reflection and action plans, and then actually do things, implement the designs. And so that brings us into the move and invigorating phase. We feel like we're not stagnating. We're not just in that challenge and awaken that overwhelm it's actually like, okay, this is happening. This is what we need to do. And it would be lovely to see that being reflected in our political systems, having clear action plans of, okay, how do we design our way out of the pandemic? Do we design our way out of the climate crisis and into climate health? Also we can use out on small levels for ourselves, how do we design increasing our skills or looking after elderly parents or all sorts of things we can use that design framework for which is the design web, which I in permaculture. Um, and then, and then we've got for the nourish and empower. We've got the Keystone which are outines, which are connection practices, and that's connecting to ourselves, connecting to other people and connecting to the more than human world as well, and bringing ourselves into alignment and resourcing ourselves through those connections. And what I found is that those different components, there's other practices as well, that support these, but that has this extra emergence through those connections of all those things. So the cultural awareness will lead our designs to be more effective. And the connection practices will , enable us to be more aware of our culture. So there's this web of connections between those keystone practices that s upport u s to bring those into balance as well.

Morag:

And then a lot of who've been listening to this are also either permaculture teachers or starting to be a permaculture teacher as well. So I imagine that , um, these processes and principles could also be used to help design really wonderful education programs. And I just wonder whether from your perspective as someone who's been teaching permaculture for awhile , um, I, you know, maybe just reflecting a little bit on what you love about teaching permaculture and how you've been able to use these ideas in that to help cultivate really wonderful experiences.

Looby:

Yeah, so the cultural emergence talk is like, it's an embodied experience as why it's not a theoretical understanding. It's like we might have a theoretical understanding of awareness of culture, but it's bringing it into our bodies and being able to shift our sematic experience relating to our culture. And when we come together in a group, whether that's a community group with the purpose of creating a project or whether that's on a course with the purpose of learning something, when we come together as a group it is a sematic experience an embodied experience that then enables you the direct connection with your own gifts that really helps those gifts to surface that releases you from your own web of patterns, that allow some expansion of yourself, of your own patterns, of how you perceive your own self. And I call them creating fields of encouragement and that encouragement moves in all directions and can land with people in very different ways. So that creative spark can take someone off in a completely different direction to what you thought you were doing with them. I'm sure you e xperienced t his on permaculture courses that, you know, someone comes in a course and you're teaching them about design and ecological systems and what they go away with is, wow.. I sung it. With people around the fire in the evening, and I didn't know that I could sing, and that's just shattered this limiting belief that I had about myself. Wow. What else could be different than, you know. Or I stood up and talked in front of the group and I didn't know that I could do that and s ay, it's all these other side consequences that we might consider a just side effects t hat actually can be the real tipping point and turning p oints for someone. But then, you know, that belief that they had about themselves, shakes another belief that they had about themselves, shifts a belief that they had about their family, about the world, about other people, b ut then they go away and think, what c ould I do now? And that might be something entirely different to what you've been teaching them about. So that's w here it was, is embodied personal experience, but then there's also a collective experience of collective realization that we are greater than the sum of our parts that we can do amazing things. And there's a lyric from a song, "we know our might is tenfold in connection". And I l ove that. L ike t his, when we come together, these things that we thought were immovable truths about the world, we discover all these cultural assumptions that can be q uestions and can be shifted.

Morag:

That's beautiful. And I really loved that. What you're saying about the fields of encouragement and it's really, you know, a permaculture course , it's not just about the content, it's about how you show up and build those relationships. So something like what you described can happen. So Looby maybe you could just tell us a little bit about where people can get hold of this book and what other resources that you might have available that people can dive into to learn more about the work that you do in all of its richness.

Looby:

Yeah. Thank you. I've got a website cultural -emergence. com and on there, we've got resources and there's lots of videos on there. And you can get the book directly from me. You can also get it from Permanent Publications as well . We will be looking to release 7 Ways to Think Differently as a free ebook as well, to get that out into the world as well and other places. So and there's online courses happening and about to happen as well. So do check out the cultural hyphen emergence dot com and I've got newsletters . Yeah. So also find me on Facebook as well. So , there's various ways you can find out and so I'm training up facilitators at the moment as well. So there'll be more people offering cultural emergence in different places around the world, and that will grow as well.

Morag:

If someone wanted to become a facilitator in that, how would they go about doing that?

Looby:

There's learning pathways, there's different courses that I run that focus on different elements of the toolkit. So when people have a good grasp of the content, then there'll be a facilitator training as well. So, you know, it is a long term process because it is complex , um, and it can give you results. So is a lifelong process of , uh, we examine the whole culture and trying to make a difference in the world is well .

Morag:

Um , and then maybe when COVID finishes, people might actually be able to come and do a course with you at your permaculture center, maybe when that all changes again.

Looby:

I do, I do hope so. Yeah. I do hope that we will be able to run courses here again. Um, we'll see how that emerges. It's about being in a state of emergence and openness and awareness and looking for opportunities. Yeah.

Morag:

And, and just connecting in different ways. You know, I think there's been a really big opening of huge, you know, global connections that are happening more than I think they were before. And I think there's a lot of possibilities in the learning in that as, as we move ahead. Well, thank you so much for your time today Looby it has been an absolute delight to catch up with you again. And , um, I know that you're going to be joining us again actually very soon , um, with the permayouth. Hopefully with one or two of your daughters , uh, joining in with the permayouth festival, the next permayouth festival. So

Looby:

Yeah, I'm looking forward to that.

Morag:

Until then, enjoy the last days of your winter while it's still there and your nice fires. Yeah. Thank you so much for joining me. It's just been an absolute delight to talk with you. And to sort of unpack a bit of some of those things that we really need to be exploring when we're, when we're diving into permaculture, that, that it is so much about the people care and the fair share and the ways of thinking and that once we have that, all of the different practical tools that we learn along the way can help us to cultivate the change that we really need to see in this world. So thank you for bringing that to the floor, writing it down for us all too.

Looby:

Yeah. Thank you Morag I know you're really busy, really productive, I should say. And just in all the different areas, and different people you support around the world and really encouraging so many other people to share their gifts. Thank you.

Morag:

Thanks Looby. So that's all for today. Thanks so much for joining us. Head on over to my YouTube channel - the links below, and then you'll be able to watch this conversation, but also make sure that you subscribe, because that way you'd be notified of all new films that come out and also the release of the extended tour of Lammas Ecovillage where we go into the landscape and the common spaces, too. And also you'll get notified of all the new interviews and conversations that come out. So thanks again for joining us, have a great week, and I'll see you next time.