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The ‘Sustainable (R)evolution’ Book Project

Have you ever wished, when explaining to someone about permaculture, you had a visual, easily accessible book that demonstrated what it is all about, and what the world could look like if permaculture design systems became mainstream thinking?

We’ll – we’re making that book.

The Permaculture Research Institute is getting behind a project that would see the creation of a large format book that profiles, with creative writing and quality photographs, some of the many successful Permaculture projects underway around the world. The purpose of this page is to solicit your help with the same.

The final version is unlikely to look like this, but it gives you an idea….

The purpose of the book is to create a resource tool to help drive Permaculture thinking into the mainstream, by spotlighting in the most aesthetic and readable way the potential of Permaculture to solve all of the world’s current problems, by means of inspirational examples of practical, working solutions. We’re documenting a sustainable revolution that spans every corner of the globe – painting an accessible, exciting picture of the positive future that’s already here.

We are donating the time of our writer/photographer Craig Mackintosh, who is teaming up with Louis and Juliana Fox (from Free Range Studios in California). Louis and Juliana will be covering projects in the Americas, while Craig (who currently resides in Europe) will be covering Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Blogging as We Go

Craig will be blogging as he covers these projects, so if you enjoyed his ‘Letters from Vietnam’ posts and photographs (see here, here and here), then you’re sure to enjoy looking over his shoulder as he checks out these varied projects in diverse locations.

Frequent Flyer Miles

The biggest expense with this project is travel – airfares, train fares, etc. (we anticipate most project leaders will support their own promotion by donating food and accommodation during research visits).

Although we just received a generous $10,000 grant from the 11th Hour Project for our research, this is a very travel-intensive endeavour (global scope) and we are still only about half funded. But we recently realized that we don’t really need much money to finish the project, what we need is frequent flyer miles to visit to some of the most inspiring sites on the planet, from ecovillages to indigenous communities to urban community gardens.

So, I’m asking to see if you or anyone you know can spare some miles and make a contribution to the cause. It’s a little tricky to just donate miles (as each airline has their own program) so what we’re probably really looking for are pledges to sponsor an individual trip on our itinerary.

Airline Contacts

Additionally, there may be one or two of you that have influence within the airline industry, and could even swing some donated tickets for this worthy cause directly from the airlines themselves.

Ready to Help?

If you can help with either direct support from an airline, or with frequent flyer miles, please contact Juliana on julianapeartree (at) with the details.

Or, if you just want to donate funds directly, please click on the donate button below. All support gratefully received. If we end up with more resources than the book project needs, the extra funds will go towards a video documentary covering the same topic.

Note: All funding for the Sustainable (R)evolution book goes through our PRI USA site, as it is the fiscal sponsor for this project (and has tax deductible status for U.S. residents). Please ensure you put "For Sustainable (R)evolution book project" in Paypal’s "Add special instructions to the seller" field.

Other Payment Options: If you’d rather pay by check, see our other payment options. Please ensure that the purpose of the donation is made clear (i.e. Sustainable (R)evolution book).

The book will map some of the most noteworthy Permaculture projects worldwide



  1. Although I realize the purpose of this book is to show the the many successful Permaculture projects already underway around the world, it would be great if new projects in the beginning stages were included, if only on a map, so people in the region could find them easily and participate. Let’s get the word out…Permaculture is happening everywhere and it is making a difference!

  2. I have been traveling the west coast usa for the last month. Everywhere i go everyone i talk to i tell them about permaculture. When i went to venice beach CA i found one person who had heard of Permaculture out of hundreds of creative green epople i spoke to. Its clear we need a mass movement to spread the word. My myspace isnt enough even tho i have gotten permaculture to a few hundred people out of my 1000+ creative friends.

    So i have came up with an idea that goes with this. A full page 11×8.5 flyer that folds in half thats filled with a bunch of the main permaculture ideas so i dont have to sit for an hour each person to explain the basics. Ive done it so much im getting verry good at doing it faster but a top quality color flyer would work miracles. You could have it available for download on your site so people can print them or they could use the printing company i use for concert flyers to bulk print them for super cheap.

    If you had a page on your site where people could donate whatever cash they could save up to print flyers for them to hand out and group this money up each time until it hits around 2-4,000 we could then print larger print runs and get the flyer prices in the 1-5 cent range.

    The book is a beautiful idea but i think a more effective project would be the flyer. People could print thousands for cheap and pass them out random to every house starting from next door and outwards. I use this ground promotion for everything from getting 10,000 people to a concert to promoting my computer repair business. It works every time if the flyer is of quality design and the printing papaer is top quality and shinny color.

    I was already preparing to write and article for your website for this project but i wanted to design up the flyer first but with this article i figured i would comment and maybe one of your people could do the flyer because to be honest i havent used photoshop for a couple years and it will be a serious mental pain for me to make the flyer i see in my mind and there may be someone who can do it better faster. Im willing to come up with a list of all the key info that i have seen people grab onto so the flyer would for sure get attention.

    All i would want out of my part in this is to have the printing contact on all the flyers be my website so if anyone needs printing thats not the permaculture flyers they would contact me for the printing instead of the printer direct so i can make some extra cash to print more permaculture flyers to get out myself.

    The book is a great idea but the price will be a problem. Just like the DVDs price as a problem. If you use the flyer as your main tool and put much of the info from your permaculture books on a part of your website so people who are dead broke can still learn permaculture i think we could see millions hitting your website in a very short time.

    Let me know what you think of this. I can write up the article for this site to get it rolling if you guys are willing to upload much more detailed info from your permaculture books onto this page.

    Again this book is a beautiful idea that has its own huge place in permaculture changing the world but flyers can get to the masses in zero time. If we can pass out 40,000 flyers and get 5-10,000 people to pay $20-$40 for a concert ticket think of what passing out 1,000,000 flyers would do for traffic on this website. All that would be missing is the beautiful teachings of your books. Not the designers manual but all the others.

    Also you may want to offer wholesale printing of this book so people can buy them in bulk (markey clearly not for resale)at cost to hand out free.


  3. Is there any chance that there could be a Chinese version of the book?

    I would like to introduce Permaculture to China, but can find nothing in Chinese, and the Chinese farmers do not speak or read English. I feel that Permaculture would be an enormous benefit to China.

    Best regards


  4. I think a map of current projects would be much better in an online version than a book. A book is a static thing by it’s nature. Not so the web. Could be done using google map and custom overlay showing locations, people can upload photos and post links to blogs and their sites.

  5. Sounds like a great idea. We need more ‘polished’ examples of how permaculture influence can work. Good luck with your endeavours. Also, do you want some contacts around the world? I know of some projects that may suit this book.

  6. It’s a great Idea, but i would like to suggest that the book be available to download freely in PDF format, this way much more people would benefit from these knoledge.

  7. All this ideas about Permaculture spread around the world are very welcome, but we should think about the true spread of that knowledge by using the most influent in (Numbers) languages around the world, meaning Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, French, besides English of course.
    I am willing to provide Portuguese translation of articles and subtitles of some of the main online movies, articles,DVD, Books or other published materials as this is a very important issue to come-up with.
    I have just watched the “Harvesting Water” DVD and i was desapointed that other languages subtitles are not included. Not even English subtitles, as some pronouncing could be very difficult to non english spoken people. This is a great Video and inspiring as well.
    About the book itself it is a good idea although i would prefer an online yearly upgraded version of the that idea to be download freely in HTML format. So every one could see the growing differences from one year to the other.

    Permacultural Greetings to you all from Portugal to the rest of the Planet

  8. Its also a shame the Permaculture DVDs arent available to watch on the site for those wo cannot afford it. If your trying to save the world why would you not have the video available to all who are looking for it insted of trying to profit for it or have them not be able to get to the info? Anyone who respects what your doing and can afford to spend some cash would probably mail you some money if you would put at the begenning and end of the dvds that if you are watchign this online or downloaded it please donate what you can spare to your project so you can make more dyds and also work on more projects.

    It really upset me the other day they removed the DVDs from google. Why would you be greedy with such important info? Im actually thinking about making my own quality permaculture DVD so i can have it available for free to people. A dvd that covers all the basics in a quick simple manner. This project should not be about profit it should be about saving humanity and the world.

    Im beginning to have a different view about the core of the permaculture designers. I just dont get it. And on top of that i know how much production and pressing of dvds is and i have seen the info int he DVDs and its not like there is some star wars editing in it so why are they not priced at like $4 US? Do you not want the info to spread to every living room? Most people would like to give them to all thier friends but who wants to spend all their rent money to do so?

    Same thing goes for the book. It should eb about getting the info to the world. NOBODY knows abotu permaculture. I have woken up hundreds to it already and could do much more but im apparently going to have to make my own media so i can get it out with reasonable costs.

    Yes i respect what permaculture is about. No i dont respect when you put profit over the health of the planet. Make the media available at the lowest possible cost and ask in all media for people to donate whatever they can to help move the projects along.

    Maybe im being a little harsh but having the videos on google to refer people to was a great tool i have been able to use to show a few hundred people what permaculture is about and now that tool is gone. So now instead of helping promote your visions im thinking of building my own permaculture website and compiling all the permaculture videos and info that are open source and possibly making my own permaculture dvd to give out free and to ask others to make copies of to give to all friends and family.

    I just feel that when it comes to info that can change/save the world how can you only offer it to those with $$ to spare? Its like if every time i go to take an hour to explain permaculture and send people to watch the videos on google i tried to make people may me $50 for the info first. I would not feel honerable trying to sell how to save the world..


  9. I would love to help out in some way with a book. Writing, editing and starting a new permaculture venture (in Queensland, Australia) are where I am at right now.

  10. It’s astounding that permaculture teachers such as Geoff and Nadia should have to defend the pricing of their educational resources.I have witnessed personally their unstinting generosity across the board.From what I have seen any surplus is just recycled into more and more projects that benifit a huge range of people other than themselves.The new book and the dvds deserve as much support as possible what ever the cost!Whinging won;t save the world and neither will your attempt to create division.Get constructive not destructive lost chief.Best wishes to all those who are doing their bit.

  11. Hi Lost Chief

    I think that your comment would be very different if you’d ever met the people you are criticising. Geoff and Nadia have tirelessly travelled the globe for over 15 years, teaching people non-stop about Permaculture. Profit has been the last driving force, and where profits have been made, they have lived the Permaculture ethic of Share of Surplus as truly as anyone I’ve met. They continue to do this, and profits from the resources you are referring to go straight back into Permaculture projects and improving their ability to share this fantastic knowledge.

    Keep up the good work Lost Chief of sharing Permaculture with others, and I wish you luck with whichever approach you take. By the way, if you do produce some great permaculture resources, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to charge money for them. Money’s not evil. It can be an amazing source of positive energy if it’s in the right hands.

  12. Thoughts from commenters above re flyers, book translations, and an online project database are all good. In regards to flyers, I don’t think one idea is ‘better’ than another – we should do all we can, using all mediums possible – each can play a part in the great ‘Permaculture Evangelisation’ of the world, whether it be a flyer, book, DVD, website or other.

    Re the Projects database in particular, I have firm ideas for doing this. If people know philanthropically-minded web social-networking/database type developers, please send them my way. I have made up a draft spec for such a database, and just need to find a way to get the thing made in a cost-effective manner.

    Re comments from Lost Chief on not making our DVDs freely available – I feel your pain. In an ideal world all the collective genius and experience and labour of humanity would be open source – recognised as belonging to the human family, regardless of race/belief, etc. If everyone worked for the good of those around them, acting as unselfishly and symbiotically as the natural systems Permaculturists love to observe, all would have plenty. However, the predominant economic theory of the last sixty years promulgates the belief that society functions best if each individual within that society persues their own selfish interest (i.e. a greed-based economy, they say, is the only path to collective wealth and happiness). This is of course a sad reflection on the state of modern man, and our present, serious, environmental and economic problems are the direct result of this way of thinking.

    The problem we have to come to terms with is that this is the framework we find ourselves in, albeit reluctantly. We are in the midst, I hope, of transition, but currently almost all of us are dependent on the extractive economic system we all despise. How to get from where we are now, to where we want to go is the great challenge of this era.

    We can’t give our DVDs away, in just the same way we can’t give our books or our courses away. Each costs money to produce. Additionally, the work and vision behind PRI is not to be a business, but a platform for change. We see a storm approaching that too few are ready for. We know that in the coming years, priorities will shift from consumer desires for things like MP3 players and plasma TVs to more mundane needs – like food and water. As such, in the small window of time that we have, we would like to plant the seeds of Permaculture through setting up self-replicating educational/demonstration sites as far and wide and fast as we possibly can. This is really about saving lives, and trying to make the otherwise inevitable increase in resource wars redundant.

    The people who produced the DVDs, for example, barely cover the cost of their equipment – let alone their time. All money made above and beyond the cost of production goes into promoting Permaculture in other ways. At present, for example, we’re about to begin building additional structures at Zaytuna Farm so we can increase student and intern capacity – so that we can send more people out into the field with valuable practical, life-saving knowledge. We cannot do this work without funding, and we strive for self-sufficiency (many organisations that rely on donations will likely soon fail as the financial crisis deepens). We are pleased that through the running of courses, etc., the work of PRI can be a closed economic loop – and any ‘profit’ above and beyond direct costs can go into setting up new such educational facilities in other regions.

    In summary – we don’t live in an ideal world, even though we are trying to find it.

  13. Lost Chief,

    Where would you like the costs of such an endeavor to be accounted? We put on dozens of free and low cost events for Permaculture in the USA. We have to build capacity in funding as well as knowledge. We all have bills to pay. I would happily retreat to a small section of bottom land and build my little Permaculture kingdom, but there is much work to do and people who develop the skills and delivery systems to communicate the message invest huge amounts of money and time need to be compensated in order to continue the work. Nobody is getting rich here and profit is not a bad word. It creates wealth and wealth is defined as the ability to help other people. DVDs do not cost $4, but 30 years or education, years of refinement, months of shooting and the compensation to many skilled artist that in-deed need their bills paid from doing the work on editing and post production. Everybody has got to eat, have a bed and roof.

    Considering the pirating, bit torrent file sharing and thousands of people who see the DVDs in groups, the small fee for a copy is reasonable and legitimate. People who buy them support the producer. Its part of our polyculture. What great fruit we get from the this tree with just a little money mulching.

    Dan Halsey, PRI Cold Climate

  14. I am offering my skills as a web/database deveolper. Would be interested in seeing your ideas.


  15. Hi Lost Chief,
    I’d be willing to work with you on developing the brochure you’re talking about. I’m involved in running a Permaculture institute and I still find myself stumbling when talking to outsiders about Permaculture. A SHORT informative and CLEARLY WRITTEN brochure that you could give clueless people to read a few times could go a long way. We just need to find a good designer. Anybody out there? Please email me at [email protected] .
    Take Care

  16. from the edge….

    …come to the caravan of hope and action… for she is moving now!!!

    Well while actual permaculturalist and other sustainability activists are in the field, sacrificing, planting, building systems and empowering communities, it is not uncommon for the token “haters” to display their poison vomit. it reflects an internal pollution far worse than any GMO that the tongue nor the teeth can contain. they are a problem within which is the solution to draw the antidote out of the poison, a lesson that no movement for real transformation will be free from the vampire-like Klueless Klutz Klan, but we should aikido like harness their sludge, compost it, use it through understanding that they ONLY appear when there is effectiveness in action… accordingly we should rejoice and double our efforts…thus harnessing it…

    if Geoff’s films were not supporting international work, transforming permaculture demand, and opening up broad based receptivity through appropriate media utilization, if all this was not happening then Count Clueless would not materialize before us… in a twist of unintended consequences, the Clansmen has only further incited the resistance…man it feels good to be on the right side of history…

    At best one can say that the sad character who posted the toxic tantrum is misguided…and as he puts it..”I just dont get it.”… that’s at best that can be thought of it.. otherwise those that attempt to cause division and mock the efforts of such life long visionaries as Bill and Geoff amount to character assassins and peddlers in despair.
    even one of the rain harvesting swales cant help the barren landscape of envy and the cynical cycle of “explain and complain”… unless perhaps he gets out and actually digs one!

    but as they say…when the caravan leaves the dogs will bark…so this is to be expected…and a sign of good things ahead.. and none of our vital human energy should be wasted… rather it should be replenished..

    but a word to the group.. lets keep building and growing .. glowing and showing what can and must be… we are reaching tipping point around the world…and we shall continue to move on all fronts..

    Gandhi said that first they ignore you, then they mock you, then they fight you, then you win….

    we know what must be done, indeed we have already begun.

    peace ..

    walk light with light…


  17. I have been working with and supporting the work of Geoff and Nadia for more than a decade, from my direct experience, I can say that they are some of the most energetically generous people that I have ever met.

    The beauty of the DVD’s is not what they cost, because we know that a single DVD is often “passed around” and seen by many people. The most extraordinary thing is that they actually exist in the first place, these DVD’s are a result of an immense investment of personal energy and many years of good work.

    The key here is to support good work, support and cooperation is what brings the work into the world, be very gentle with any criticizing of those that are actually out there doing it because there are far too few of us out there in the field, the truth is, we need all the help and support we can get.

    Regards: Paul Taylor

  18. Hey lost chief and others,

    A colleague and I taught a living foods workshop some months back. One participant rang up before the event to complain that such events should be run for free in the spirit of sharing and so on. She was critical of capitalism and charging money for things generally, let alone events aligning themselves with sustainability.

    I explained the various costs involved (room hire, ingredients, transport, tutor time etc etc) and she relaxed to the point that she attended the workshop. She had a great time and at the end paid happily. Afterward she got in touch saying thanks and sharing all the bread and related fermented goodness she was making as a result.

    I think of the DVDs under discussion in the same way. If the time of skilled people working in this field (let alone the most accomplished in the world!) is not covered, then they become less able to continue their work. To be frank, the more money that organisations like the Permaculture Institute are able to pull in through their good work, all the better, as the more good work they can continue with!


  19. Regarding the sharing of content, I think we might benefit from using the Creator-Endorsed Mark, as explained here:
    “The Creator-Endorsed Mark is a logo developed by and first used in June 2009 that a distributor can use to indicate that a work is distributed in a way that its creator endorses — typically, by the distributor sharing some of the profits with the creator. The mark is not an alternative to a free license; rather, it’s meant to be used in conjunction with free licensing [such as Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike]. You release your work under a free license, and then grant or withhold permission to use the CE Mark based on how distributors behave.”

    I think that we could benefit by doing a site assessment of publishing and distribution tools, legal marks and licenses, and media/information sharing practices. Then, with that survey, we can design our creation and distribution and re-use of media in ways that flow with nature/reality, meeting more of our needs more gracefully.

    How I see our situation:
    1) Our current infrastructure allows copying of digital content at no cost to the creator, and that copying tends to happen regardless of legal permission.
    2) In order to buy something, someone must first know the thing exists and that it’s for sale — this can be a challenge for authors in the information flood of current society, as they face obscurity.
    3) If an author/creator/researcher invests attention/sweat/money in creating information I value, and gets no compensation, then they might not create anything new, and that’s a loss for me if I value their information.
    4) Therefore, as the boundaries to sharing information diminish, I step out of the commerce system in which payment is enforced by police/military, and into a commerce system that puts responsibility for payment in the hands of everyone who derives value from a piece of work.

    That’s the creation, sharing, and payment aspect, now for licensing, re-use, and the commons.

    In English, “free” has two meanings: “gratis” means “free of charge,” as in “free lunch”; and “libre” means “freedom,” as in “free people” or “freedom to use, study, modify, and re-distribute a creative work.” I want libre creations, including data about plant species research, and blueprints for compost tea brewers, and software for mapping, and written works. I want those things libre because that respects the creative capacity of each human that comes in contact with the work, recognizing that anyone might improve the design, or just needs to modify it for their particular situation. Evidence for the viability of this comes from multiple sources, some documented in Terry Hancock’s book “Achieving Impossible Things” (CC-BY-SA licensed, available at ).

    Pieces of a way forward: We form a permaculture commons, and folks pay into it (individually, as guilds, and as part of course tuition) and then vote on which proposals for research and writing they want to fund. Anyone can submit a proposal, edit a proposal, or fund a proposal. Since work gets at least partially funded before production, it’s easier for the writers/researchers. And all works created are given a libre license, thus building a knowledge base that is freely editable, that we can build on freely. More details on this sort of idea:

    What do you think?

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