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Amazing Permaculuture

On Saturday, I went to the New England Resilience Gathering. This was a day conference on what people had been doing to promote sustainability in their local areas and what the next step might be. Much of what was being done was based on permaculture, a practice becoming more familiar to the Pagan community. Starhawk practices permaculture, (and she says why it matters to Pagans) as do a number of Heathens of my acquaintance. Permaculture fits neatly with Pagan values about the health of the land, and has the benefit of requiring intimate knowledge of one’s local landscape and community.


takes into account all the inputs and outputs of any system rather than creating externalities. Externalities are effects of any system that are not taken into account. For example, when a mining business does not count the cost of clean up when they extract something from the earth, that unaccounted cost is an externality. When we subsidize industries, we as consumers pay for the externalities.

One of the things I find especially mind blowing about permaculture is its ability to find unique and highly effective solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems; Problems that I have heard articulated over and over at Pagan gatherings. How can we not wreck the planet with 7 billion people on board, and more coming? How do we clean up the huge messes of industry? Permaculture, and its sister terms biodynamics and holistic management, are organic answers to these problems.

In my next couple posts, I’ll detail some of the amazing and wonderful things that can be accomplished with these principles.

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Selina Rifkin, L.M.T., M.S. is a graduate of Temple University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. In 1998 she graduated from the Downeast School of Massage in Maine. She has published articles in Massage Therapy Journal, been a health columnist, and published The Referral Guide for Complementary Care, a book that describes 25 different healing modalities. In 2006 she completed her Masters program in Nutrition with a focus on traditional foods, and the work of Weston A. Price.
Currently she is the Executive Assistant to the Director of Cherry Hill Seminary, the first Pagan seminary to offer Master’s degrees.


  • Jamie
    Jamie Monday, 07 October 2013

    Ms. Rifkin,

    Thank you for sharing the concept of permaculture to a broader audience! We don't do it, but I wish we could.

    Going forward, especially as the seemingly endless and cheap petroleum-based energy skyrockets in monetary and environmental costs, permaculture offers us all a sustainable exit strategy from global consumerist capitalism.

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