First things first! The final Northern Alberta Permaculture Convergence schedule is live and can be seen below at the bottom of this post! I’m really excited for our lineup of workshops. One of the many things that make this Convergence special is our line-up of social permaculture workshops. Social permaculture is a more recent, and I think needed, evolution in the permaculture movement, and I am glad we can feature some awesome teachers from that realm. I am also very excited for the Farmer to Permie panel I will be moderating, which features two farmers collaborating with me in my research and the organizer of Young Agrarians Alberta chapter. I feel very fortunate to be able to share some of the lessons I’ve learned through my research with a live audience at this event. I hope some of you readers will be there to hear!
Just today I saw a facebook post about Burning Man a huge arts festival that happens every year in Nevada with the image and text below:
“The Burning Man gathering generates an estimated 49,000 tons of greenhouse gases. If you divide this figure by the amount of people attending it works out at about twice the weekly national average per person in North America. It is also more than some entire countries produce in a week. Are the deep experiences, learnings and creative insights that people have at Burning Man ‘worth’ this amount of harm to the earth? I honestly don’t know and it may be that there is no way to objectively calculate this. But perhaps it is time for people to start to create earth based, sustainable forms of praise, play and celebration.”
I found this post very timely, as the NAPC approaches and I personally struggle with the desire to travel simultaneously as I want to build a place-based community and live in my values. I don’t know where the numbers in this post came from, but I would not be surprised if they were accurate. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world driving and flying out to the US desert is fossil fuel intensive. I know nothing about the energy use on site, but at very least we know the iconic burning structures will contribute to the GHG output as well. Currently, I run in circles with people who live for these kinds of festivals, and understandably so, they look magical! Many of my closest friends first bonded over our shared love of international travel and intercultural exchange. Many permies and beyond put so much value on traveling to find these learning freeing experiences. I’m a prime example, I did my PDC in Jordan, and am currently in a country other than my country of citizenship to study permaculture farms. I went to college out of state and spent the first year of my career working in Egypt. I am in no place to preach, but I’ve lived this life long enough to know it’s not perfect, and it might not be saving the world like we want it to.
While all of these experiences across the globe are life-changing, inspiring and exciting, I think we need to be critical of this culture of leaving. Leaving to find knowledge. Leaving to find excitement. Leaving to find the right community. Leaving to find ourselves. Because not only is it carbon intensive and hard on the natural environment, but I also think it might not be the best way to accomplish our goals. I can’t speak to that for sure. I don’t have a lot of experience in staying, but from what I can see through my research and preparing for this Convergence is that there is so much knowledge right here in Alberta. Albertans don’t have to leave the province to find experts in permaculture, earthships, or community building, and they certainly don’t have to leave to meet cool people and have a great time.
Here’s the plug: if you’re reading this from home in Alberta, try to come to the NAPC. Soon I’ll be packing up to leave yet again and making the trek back to my home in Minnesota. Right now the best I can do is facilitate others to embody these values to which I aspire. My goal is to facilitate some Albertans I haven’t met yet to learn some new skills and building stronger community bonds right in their backyards, before I fall back into my habit of leaving. Check out the schedule below and see if anything tickles your fancy. I would love to meet you! Please get in touch if you have any questions about participating. More information can be found on the facebook event and tickets can be purchased on the website for the Aspen Centre for Integral Living. If you sign up soon at this link discounted tickets may still available for those willing to volunteer. Single day passes will also be available at the door.
I hope I see you there!