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Permaculture:  A Toolkit For Musicians

An ecosystem emerges as a web of living relationships, a network of interactions, nutrient cycles and energy flows.  A music culture is empathically the same thing.  Both are intricate and sentient, expressing something exquisitely more than the science of their parts.

Permaculture is an ecological design system whose central tenet is that by observing the way ecosystems such as a forest or meadow work, we can learn how to create human habitats and life-styles that, like them, are productive, resilient, energy efficient, and waste-free.  A revolution disguised as gardening, it connects indigenous wisdom and ecological science with the innovation of your own imaginative mind.

This is a transformative time for the music trade.  Under the eye of business; the value of music as a service and commodity is shifting between sectors.  Many policies and digital advances that effect music culture are being made by corporations the economic size of nation-states, and these decisions are not only impacting musicians’ ability to thrive from their work, but play also on the future of music within society.  Whilst many in the trade are discussing how to recover the creative economy, few seem to acknowledge that the crisis for creators is symptomatic of a deeper problem – an exhausted planet and an economic paradigm that can serve us no longer.  The music industry at large has behaved like most other industries; neither sustainably nor fairly. Its rise and fall has been characterised by exploitation and inequity, large-scale production of disposable and non-durable wares, and environmentally negligent practices.  None of this can be sustained.  With respect for ourselves and love for our planet; now is the time for us as musicians to restore ourselves to our craft, in honour of the people and places it serves.

We each inhabit a unique environment in which to consciously shape our musical pathways and mindfully direct our energy flows.  If our music system is a complex nutrient cycle, a network of interactions – events, production, marketing, distribution and funding:  Which cycles and systems do we wish to nourish and be nourished by?  We are the creators.  We choose.  We can design how the practical elements of our profession truthfully reflect the sacred nature of music.  An intelligent design philosophy that empowers, that follows natural form, and that is caring to the Earth and her people, can guide us on the way.

This permaculture toolkit is designed to equip you; not with a set of answers but with a way of thinking.  With the Earth and with each other, we can cultivate a healthy music ecosystem that is not only sustainable, but regenerative.  Like a forest naturally replenishes its soil, we can provide a fertile ground for music that is rich in imagination, diverse in expression, strengthened by interconnection, and nourishing to the precious world from which it springs.

With Love and Gratitude x