Response to person offended by Cop City post in a permaculture FB group

“In my opinion this post is inappropriate for this site. As a retired police officer I can tell you that, from my experience, most of the statements about law enforcement made in this post are dangerously inaccurate. They seem entirely political. I will be leaving this group because I don’t want to look at a gardening site and see political posts, whether I agree with the politics or not.”

My response:

Hi [name] –

1) I understand. Sometimes (many times) I see posts I don’t like; posts I disagree with. And I always have to decide whether to leave a group or stay.

2) This isn’t a gardening group – permaculture is about much more than gardening. And it DEFINITELY includes politics; Mollison & Holmgren said so right off the bat.

3) The information in this article has been reported by multiple sources, including various publications and also including people who are right there.

4) You are of course welcome to offer your own comments on this post.

5) And, of course you are always welcome to make posts about permaculture aspects that interest you! I hope you will stick around and I hope you will do that — there are so many aspects of permaculture.

tagging my fellow admins, and some fellow permaculture design educators/activists, for my accountability [names]


More thoughts later … As a longtime member and co-leader of various permaculture groups (both online and offline), I am often offended by certain types of posts and comments. Some of these posts violate group rules and require admin action, but in many of the cases no actual rule is violated. In such cases I try to dialogue with the person or add comments of my own; sometimes I just scroll past.

Types of posts or comments I find offensive in permaculture groups:

Comments admonishing the OP to “stick to permaculture” (when they mean “stick to gardening)

Broadly, any post or comment indicating that the person doesn’t really know what permaculture is; thinks it’s just a fancy form of gardening or “homesteading”

Posts about buying acreage without knowing the community one is moving into

Along those lines, posts about moving to other countries to take advantage of their lower cost of living, natural beauty, etc. (that’s called “gentrification” or “colonizing”)

— Yes, I find many types of posts and comments offensive. And sometimes I do just scroll past them and try to forget about them. But part of the work of permaculture is trying to engage with different viewpoints and build community, so I try to stick around; avoid taking the easy escape route too often.