Round 7 Response to Permaculture Joe

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During the guest lecture on permaculture, it was apparent that Joe was an expert on the instrumental values of permaculture and how permaculture benefits humans. What I viewed critically was Joe’s interpretation of intrinsic value. Joe’s interpretation of intrinsic value and environmental ethics in general was a bit off because to say that a flower has intrinsic value because it is beautiful still stems from a human putting a value on a piece of nature due to how the human benefits from the flower. In this case, the flower has aesthetic benefits to a human and thus what Joe was talking about was more instrumental value as opposed to intrinsic value-value for the sake of existence. If Joe was given the proper instruction about the difference between intrinsic value and instrumental value then maybe he would give a more valid answer. Also, what I viewed critically was when Joe claimed that not only can you obtain food and building materials (timber) from permaculture, Joe claimed that you can also obtain medicine from permaculture. I believe that the root of medicine is technology and science. Through many years of research of how the human body works, the science of the chemicals in our body, and technology to mass produce these medicines, the medical health industry has progressed and with that progression, human lifespans have been extended by many years. So in regards to permaculture cultivating medicine, how can Joe know for sure that you obtain a quality medicine that works just as well as the medicine that the doctor prescribes? When Joe mentioned Planned Obsolescence in his lecture, I was reminded of “Just Garbage” by Peter Wenz. I like how by practicing permaculture, we decrease the outsourcing of waste to the poor in Third World countries. This is due to the fact that permaculture is small-scale agriculture that decreases waste and uses our natural resources in a sustainable manner. Permaculture is a step in the right direction because if people start off living sustainably through sustainable agriculture, those same people will most likely be sustainable in regards to other ways of living such as living with technology. By living a sustainable lifestyle, people can be encouraged to not live according to the Planned Obsolescence way of life and throw away electronics even if it isn’t broken yet. People can be encouraged to live a healthier lifestyle with the aid of permaculture.

Stephanie Petrakos

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One response »

  1. Great blog post. One thing though that I challenge you to do would be to re-evaluate your view on modern medicine. Modern medicine isn’t necessarily the sole efficient system available to us, and irreplaceable by natural remedies as you seem to think. One adverse aspect of the current system is that pharmaceutical medicines don’t actually cure the illness or disease – they just manage the symptoms. Not only do they cause negative side effects, but they lower your natural immune system over time. That means you are susceptible to more illness, which requires more drugs, and the cycle continues. Also, most doctors are not taught the benefits of natural remedies and instead prescribe medicine in the place of preventative diets or exercise. There’s also the misuse, overdose, and toxic reactions to pharmaceuticals. Thus, I wouldn’t be so quick to write off Joe’s nature based medicines.

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