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What is Cultural Emergence?

Ten years ago, Looby Macnamara brought us a permaculture design system with which you can also design non-land-based projects (book People and Permaculture).
This idea grew further and wider, into a toolbox for social and personal permaculture, called “Cultural Emergence”.


What is Cultural Emergence?

Cultural Emergence is personal and social permaculture on a new level. Where permaculture looks at patterns in nature, Cultural Emergence looks at patterns in behavior and thinking. Regenerative agriculture becomes regenerative culture. How do we accept personal leadership and create a shared responsibility for a regenerative culture in which everything and everyone thrives?

With permaculture you do your best to make powerful combinations between a plant and the soil and between plants themselves. In this process, we humans are like a conductor of an orchestra: we help the whole by creating a balanced system.
Cultural Emergence is about personal leadership based on permaculture ethics and systems thinking. Conductor of your own life, with yourself as the orchestra.

How do you make effective connections between people or even groups? How do you learn from nature and connect with it to strengthen your own foundation? How do you become aware of a culture and what can you do to positively influence it?

Culture has a visible part (in music, stories, celebrations, symbols, rewards, how long can you have your fingernails...) and a less visible part. Our values, ethics and morals for example, status and the definition of success, what brings shame, what should you do when you are old...

Cultural Emergence: a toolbox for permanent regenerative culture

What if permaculture ideas were universally applied in all cultures? What if systems thinking and design thinking were the standard and people made their decisions based on principles and permaculture ethics (care for the earth, for people and for the future)? What if we nurtured relationships like gardens, and connections grew like companion plants or tree guilds or even an entire food forest?


In May 2023 I will facilitate a Cultural Emergence and Permaculture - design for change course here at Bogata Šuma. Click the link if you are interested.

Barbara Scheltus

More about Cultural Emergence (and a free taster course to get to know some of the tools) >

Order the book from Looby Macnamara >

Help manifesting a Cultural Emergence card deck >


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